Cameras were snapping and many selfies were taken as people admired a mural being created by youth by the Energy Events Centre.

The young people were brought over to Rotorua from Vanuatu by Pacific Community's 'Wake Up!' initiative as a part of the World Conference on Health Promotion which was held in Rotorua earlier this week.

Wake Up! encourages young people to get involved and create non-communicable disease (NCDs) prevention messages to reach people under 30.

Across three days youth get involved in training workshops to learn the basics about NCDs and learn about communication techniques.


They take this knowledge home and create communications campaigns with support from professional mentors.

Solene Bertrand-Protat, Pacific Community non-communicable diseases adviser, says two years ago youth were asked to shoot a video to get the message out and this year youth were asked to create graffiti art.

Pacific Community selected the four-person Vanuatu graffiti art team to come to the conference, along with one youth from New Caledonia as a collaboration.

The team created the mural on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it portrays both healthy and bad habits, in order to raise awareness of how people's current habits can impact their health later on.

Solene says once finished the mural will be gifted to Rotorua's council.

She says people passing by had been taking a lot of photos and selfies.

"It's a really great opportunity for them to be here because they are not used to showcasing their work in front of many people."

She says it is also a great opportunity for them to visit another country.


Robea Daniel, one of the artists from Vanuatu, says they are a group of youth who attend art class and did an entry for the Wake Up! project.

He says he was so excited when he found out they would be travelling to New Zealand to do their passion - "It was thrilling".

"I've enjoyed doing the mural and having lots of people stop by, and they ask to take photos with us."