The Ōhau community is getting ready for a new mural to be installed in the village's underpass, by practicing their designs with colourful chalk.

Residents and local children gathered at the underpass, which connects the east and west parts of the village beneath busy SH1, to unleash their creativity and share ideas about the mural to later be finalised.

Work started with an idea-gathering chalk day last weekend, where anyone was welcome to share their creative and artistic ideas for the underpass.

Designs, flowers, lettering, sunshine, rainbows and nature were all themes that appeared, with children in particular keen to brighten up the grey concrete tunnel.

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Organiser Sarah Walsh said the idea was to turn something that was an ugly and uninviting but vital space into something special.

'It's exciting to be moving this project forward," she said. "We are working with local artists to showcase some of the interesting, special and beautiful things in our area, and to rejuvenate this space into something special for the next generation."

Ohau's chalk mural day.
Ohau's chalk mural day.

The permanent mural is in the planning stages and will be started in October.

It is being supported by a Horowhenua District Council Vibrant Communities grant.

As an initiative of the council's Pride and Vibrancy action plan, the Vibrant Communities grant was introduced in 2015 to support projects that "build a sense of vibrancy in the Horowhenua district," the council said.

Grant recipients have to fit into criteria that show their project is an activity, programme or development that will create a link between generations or involve people from different generations working together and that will see people from different generations work together to achieve the initiative.

Projects must also attract people's attention, generate interest, encourage interaction, viewing, physical touch and movement and contribute to a sense of community.

Walsh said the Ōhau mural project would involve many different parts of the community and that the chalk day had been a great precursor to the final project.

"It's great to see everyone involved, young and not so young alike," she said.