A large-scale inspiring mural has appeared in Ōtaki where a new Saturday market is taking place.

The 18m by 5m mural is on a warehouse building in Ōtaki Yard, on the former Caltex along State Highway 1.

Artist Theo Arraj, known for revitalising public spaces, was commissioned by Ōtaki Yard to create the community art project.

The artwork is called Gaia's Gift and represents Mother Nature and her giving nature.


"Being a space where markets will be hosted, I wanted to incorporate fresh fruit and vege in a unique way, while also creating a piece with meaning and impact.

"So that whether the markets are on or not the artwork will speak to the people passing by and tell a story of respect and beauty for the life the Earth gives us each day."

The background was brushed using a cornflower colour before Arraj used Loop aerosol spraypaint, from Italy, to create the intricate design which was made even more difficult because of the corrugated surface.

The finished product. Photo / David Haxton
The finished product. Photo / David Haxton

"It was extremely challenging because it's difficult to paint on.

"You have to change your whole technique and you're not able to get cleaner lines and stuff.

"But it's an image that is observed from further back."

It took a week to create just in time for the opening of the market on Saturday after it was postponed because of Covid-19.

"We've been so lucky with the weather with beautiful days.


"We've been blessed."

Feedback had been "completely 100 per cent positive from everyone".

"Everyone has been super great about it.

"I think people like to see stuff like this come to life."

Elevate Ōtaki board member and councillor James Cootes said, "The purpose and kaupapa of Elevate Ōtaki has always been to work in support of enabling a thriving, bustling, enhanced community - and building up business confidence is a big part of achieving this.

"Ōtaki Yard will bring a positive influence to our town with a flow on effect to surrounding business, so it was only natural for us to seize the opportunity to support them in their mahi to create a wonderful community minded mural for all to enjoy."


Ōtaki Yard developer Nigel Ross said the market would bring "much needed additional customers to Ōtaki, revitalise the region and also help local businesses get back on their feet after a difficult period".

The large mural in Ōtaki Yard. Photo / David Haxton
The large mural in Ōtaki Yard. Photo / David Haxton

The market can house up to 100 stalls as well as food trucks and other food offerings every Saturday, and will be an attraction for families, food lovers as well as those seeking gift ideas.

"The market will allow us to highlight Ōtaki's place in the Kāpiti district and showcase some of New Zealand's incredible artisans."

The goal is that Ōtaki will become a destination to travel to, not just through.

"We want to bring together the best growers, crafters, makers, bakers, and more, and make it the market that people of all ages and stages can't wait to go back to.

"We are confident the market will be well supported by locals and visitors keen to get out after spending several weeks in lockdown.


"More than ever Kiwis are seeking New Zealand made products because they want to support and shop local.

"We believe the market will help stimulate the local economy and turn Ōtaki into a renowned destination."

For more information or to register your interest as a stall holder visit www.otakiyard.nz/register