A large-scale, clean energy-themed mural was unveiled today, on the battery system building powering the harbour bridge lights.

The mural was completed in just under a month in January and was painted by Auckland artist Erin Forsyth.

Forsyth said Vector was looking for someone to enhance the battery and she was recommended for the job.

"The brief I was given was about the story of clean energy, which is the emphasis of the Vector Lights project and something that the council is trying to work towards," Forsyth said.


"There's a lot of detail in the work so it's almost like a series of paintings rather than one thing, but all of the paintings go together as part of a bigger story."

She said the narrative is designed to be open to interpretation.

Forsyth recently completed a diploma in sustainability and her illustration practice is focused on portraits of native and endangered species.

Forsyth said she aimed to include different cultural archetypes in the work.

"I wanted to make a work that focused on the commonalities of storytelling," she said.

Energy and Resource Minister Megan Woods officially cut the ribbon on the storage system today.

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods cuts the ribbon on the storage building for the Vector Lights project. Photo / Brendan O'Hagan
Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods cuts the ribbon on the storage building for the Vector Lights project. Photo / Brendan O'Hagan

The harbour bridge lights are powered by 248 solar panels situated on top of restaurants at North Wharf in the Wynyard Quarter

A shipping container-sized Tesla Powerpack battery storage system, that the mural has been painted upon, has been built in the Silo Park carpark to store the solar energy. The energy is enough to power 400 homes for an hour.

Woods said, as minister of Research, Science and Innovation and Energy and Resources, she was really interested in new ways of doing things.

"I think the fact that we're generating power over the road and it's being stored here, then being used to light up the harbour bridge, is exactly the kind of thinking we need to be looking at," Woods said.


The Vector Lights project is part of a 10-year energy efficiency partnership between power company Vector and the Auckland Council, kicked off on the Saturday of Auckland Anniversary Weekend.

A six-minute, specially composed sequence – which referenced Tama-Nui te Ra (the sun), Hikohiko (electrical energy), and Hei te Ao Marama (the future world of light) – celebrated the city's richly diverse cultures.

Tens of thousands lined Auckland's waterfront to watch the show on its opening night, a Vector Lights spokesperson said. Around 2000 turned up to Northcote's Little Shoal Bay Reserve for the "switch on" launch event attended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Auckland mayor Phil Goff. Vector Lights trended top in New Zealand on Twitter.