The work of about 20 children was celebrated at the opening of new murals added to the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre fence.

About 35 people attended the opening on February 8, Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre (WRRC) community representative Graham Pearson said.

The murals, and a revamping of the centre's sculpture garden, were done during two week-long workshops in January. They were led by artist Esther Topfer, who was helped by volunteers.

Individual elements of the murals were fixed to a plywood backing with 7000 screws, in a volunteer effort that took about 500 hours. The murals use the stars on peanut butter jar lids, the tui on beer bottle lids, reflectors from bicycles donated to Green Bikes and old fashioned slide holders - as well as many bottle tops.

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Two new murals brighten the fence around the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre. Photo / Lewis Gardner
Two new murals brighten the fence around the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre. Photo / Lewis Gardner

Fixing everything in place is important for the murals' longevity, Topfer said. She would like to add more pictures, perhaps of the Opera House and the Bastia Hill water tower, in a workshop in July.

The children were very proud of what they had done, she said.

"Taking one man's trash and turning it into taonga is something so special, and the general public can get to enjoy it as well."

One mural shows the Duncan Pavilion at Castlecliff Beach. Photo / Lewis Gardner
One mural shows the Duncan Pavilion at Castlecliff Beach. Photo / Lewis Gardner

The children gained confidence and have more ideas to try. Some were disappointed their families had other plans for the second week of the workshop, meaning they couldn't attend.

They and the volunteers learned new art techniques. The WRRC and Sustainable Whanganui were very supportive and a sense of community was built, Topfer said.

"I think art strengthens and creates a community."

The Higginbottom Fountain at Virginia Lake in full flow, depicted against a night sky. Photo / Lewis Gardner
The Higginbottom Fountain at Virginia Lake in full flow, depicted against a night sky. Photo / Lewis Gardner

WRRC manager Dale Cobb is thrilled with the new murals and Topfer has loved doing the work.

Creative Communities New Zealand provided the $2500 that funded the workshops.

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