An eye-catching piece of artwork has been unveiled and gifted to Whanganui Hospital with a deep underlying message of domestic violence.

Artist Dan Mills' interpretation of the White Ribbon campaign now has a pride of place in the hospital's main corridor after an unveiling ceremony on Friday, May 17.

It is a pleasing result for Whanganui and MidCentral district health boards, child and youth mortality review co-ordinator, Terry Sarten.

With White Ribbon being a cause close to Sarten's heart, he wanted to do something special on White Ribbon day last year on November 23.


"I had been to the 24-hour Art Jam in Whanganui where the public could watch artists spend 24 hours creating a piece, and I knew of Dan's work and so talked to him about doing something 'live'."

Mills who is known for painting giant murals around the city that have become significant features, set up his canvas in the hospital foyer and spent four hours creating the work, the result Sarten wanted.

"People would stop and ask about it and it was an opportunity for us to pass on the White Ribbon message," Sarten says.

Sarten says himself and his colleague see family violence in all forms and contexts.

"White Ribbon speaks to men and calls on them to be pro-active about sending a message to their peers and to their children about how they should behave.

"The power of the painting is having the Whanganui River as a white ribbon running through our community, showing that everyone has a part to play in how we tackle family violence," he says.

Sarten is pleased Mills has chosen to donate the panting as it will help to spread these key messages of communities overcoming the problem.

Materials for the artwork were donated from local businesses Mitre 10, Philp-Wrights and Meteor Office Products.


As part of the unveiling, kaumatua John Maihi blessed the painting and DHB board chairwoman Dot McKinnon cut the ribbon.

A new cabinet full of hospital archives also situated on the ground floor was also blessed.

The new collection includes plates, cups, sauces, silver tea service, place mats and a ticket to a masked ball.

The display is work from keen archivist Ailsa Stewart who was supported by Mark Thompson, from The Doorshoppe, who built the cabinet.