We've just lived through a unique time in history.

Now, as we come out the other side and try to find our new normal, Towncentre Taupō is calling on locals for a new project to reconnect the community with the central business district.

General manager Julie McLeod said Towncentre Taupō members want the community to know that the town centre is their place too.

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So it is asking people to send in their photos - of life in their lockdown bubbles, of the things they created during lockdown, of their pictures of life in the Taupō district and of the nature and wildlife that make it so special.

People are asked to submit photos via the Towncentre Taupō website which will be made into collages. Quality Print will make the collages into large vinyls that can be placed onto the windows of empty shops in the town centre.

The first sets are already going up in town and consist of beautiful Taupō district images from Destination Great Lake Taupō, as well as pictures of some of the lesser-known Graffiato artworks around the Taupō town centre.

But for the next four sets of vinyls Towncentre Taupō is asking locals to send in photos that fit the four themes.

The first is pictures documenting life in locals' bubbles during the level four lockdown. This theme has a real people focus and should be of the people in your bubble - your family, your flatmates, enjoying (or enduring) each other's company.

The second theme is your lockdown creativity. The projects you and your family undertook during those surreal weeks at home with each other - the amazing cakes you made, bread you baked, art, DIY, children's drawings and paintings - anything creative at all.

"It doesn't' need to be professional, it can be 'here's this drawing my 7-year-old son did in lockdown that was really cool', we want people to share those photos," says Julie.

The third theme is nature photographs from around the Taupō district of the wildlife, the bush, lakes and rivers, anything natural, whether shot on a professional camera or a cellphone. Julie says the really outstanding shots may be made into a vinyl on their own or a larger collage.

A mockup of how the completed shop window will look. Locals are being asked to send in their own shots for future window vinyls in the town centre. Photo / Supplied
A mockup of how the completed shop window will look. Locals are being asked to send in their own shots for future window vinyls in the town centre. Photo / Supplied

The last theme is for locals to share their love of this place. Think pictures of the family hanging out at the lake, enjoying a picnic with friends, dinners in town, shopping, boating, skiing and more.

A spin off of the project is that the vinyls will not only beautify the empty shop windows, and make the town centre look more vibrant, they will draw people into town to look at them.

"It's so much more beautiful and inspiring than empty shop windows," says Julie.

Once a shop is re-tenanted, the vinyl can be simply peeled off the window and they will be stored to be used again in empty shops or preserved as a record of a unique time in New Zealand history.

"We are really hoping we get a lot of community buy-in," Julie says. "It's a legacy project. We really want to show that this is what we did in lockdown, this is our place."

A lot of photographs will be needed to produce the vinyls so Julie and her colleague Alice Thompson are encouraging everybody with suitable shots to upload them as soon as they can.

Alice says people don't need to worry whether their picture is good enough or professional enough to be chosen. All it needs to do is have a connection to them.

"It's special to the person who sent it in and that's the point."

You can upload your photographs at: www.towncentretaupo.co.nz/share or use the QR code printed on the side of each vinyl already in some of Taupō's shop windows.

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