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Community Art

Build Communities, not prisons, mural on Police Station wall.Any enquiries about the possibility of installing or placement of artwork in public places should be made to the Community Development Department.

Refer to the Council's Arts Policy as a guideline of local heritage and arts in Napier. If you are still interested in submitting a proposal for your art work, one-off art project or art installation in public places in Napier the next steps are:

  • Stage 1 - Criteria for Art Project: Contact the Community Development Advisor to discuss and work through criteria as required in Stage 1. Once your proposal has met the criteria, the Community Development Advisor will arrange a meeting with the Arts Advisory Panel to consider the proposal and meet with you.
  • Stage 2 - Arts Advisory Panel Consideration: All new proposals for art work or art installations in public places must be assessed and approved through the Arts Advisory Panel. The Arts Advisory Panel was set up to make recommendations to Council on the suitability of one-off art for a particular location, giving considerations to the uniqueness of the community into which it is to be installed, and the heritage and cultural values of the site.
  • Stage 3 - Council's Community Development Committee receive recommendation: The Arts Advisory Panel's recommendations are tabled at the Council's Sub-Committee for discussion. The sub-committee may approve or decline the recommendation of the Arts Advisory Panel.
  • Stage 4 - Full Council meeting to decide on recommendation: The final recommendation from the Council's Community Development Committee is discussed at the full Council meeting. Council may approve or decline the recommendation. You will be advised of Council's decision and advised of the next course of action.

Hawke's Bay Art Guide Map

Other art installations around Napier

'A Wave In Time' for Napier...

A close up of the A Wave in Time bronze sculpture February 2010.

A Wave in Time is made up of two bronze sculptures, located in Napier’s city centre on Emerson Street.  Both pieces of artwork were created by Mark Whyte of Lyttleton commissioned by the Napier City Council.

The first installation was commissioned in 2009. The statue is modelled on Miss Sheila Williams, daughter of E A Williams of the notable architects of the era. Miss Williams will be familiar to many people in Hawke’s Bay - she led the "New Napier Week Carnival" in January 1933 to celebrate the town's recovery from the earthquake.

The work was funded by bequests from the Kingdom Foundation and the Dobson Trust.

The unveiling ceremony of the first sculpture was held on Friday 12 February 2010.

The second sculpture was unveiled in October 2014. 

The second bronze piece is of a little boy who appears to have climbed a pole and is waving.  It complements the first art deco piece, as the little boy appears to be waving to the sculpture modelled on Miss Sheila Williams.

Whyte majored in stone sculpture at the Ilam School of Fine Arts and is a specialist in stone sculpture, heritage restoration, public statuary in marble and bronze, and bronze portraiture. His earliest work in stone heritage restoration was with Takaka marble for the Wellington Parliament refurbishment project in the early 1990s.

Broken Waka

Broken Waka, mural on Maraenui shopping centre wall.'Broken Waka' mural on Maraenui shopping centre wall - October 2002

The mural reflected the mood of the local children and youth in Maraenui about a lack of cohesion and disconnection in the neighbourhood, but a strong belief that Maori values and a sense of belonging was still in the whole suburb. This mural was commissioned by the Napier City Council with local artist Campbell in Maraenui shopping centre as part of a school holiday programme and was one of the largest air brushed murals in the region. The cost for materials and the hours for the artist was $5,000 from the Council's Community Development Department.

Build Communities

'Build Communities, not Prisons' mural on Police Station wall on Station Street, Napier - March 2003

The mural was unveiled by Norm Hewitt, former All Black, Hurricanes and Hawke's Bay representative to support youth development across Hawke's Bay. Pat Magill and the Napier Pilot City Trust in collaboration with the Napier City Council worked with local high schools to put weave together a tapestry of artwork from students that promoted respect, honesty, forgiveness and pride for all. As well as providing advice and support, Council contributed provided $1,000 from the Council's Safer Communities and $300 from the Community Development Department.

Uniting the Community

'Uniting the Community' mural on Countdown Supermarket wall on Munroe Street in Napier - December 2004

A partnership with Anglican Youth Ministries supported by Pilot City Trust and Napier City Council produced a mural that linked jigsaw puzzles pieces drawn from local primary schools that echoed the importance of family, cultures, values and community. Council's Community Development provided $500 towards materials and helped out with promotional resources and as a link to the community.

'A symbol of freedom and lightness...'

Flight of The Return sculpture in Paxie's Lane, Napier. Flight of the Return, by Napier artist Philipp Meir, is a stainless steel installation of some of Hawke’s Bay’s most regular visitors – gannets. It is located in Paxies Lane (off Hastings Street) in Napier CBD.

Philipp initially studied architecture before completing a BA in Visual Art at EIT Hawke’s Bay, and an apprenticeship in Germany to a master builder.

He has exhibited his work throughout New Zealand and Australia, and in Singapore, and been a regular collaborator with many New Zealand councils around New Zealand on public art projects and sculptural playgrounds.

This sculpture has special meaning for Philipp, who moved with his family from Germany to Hawke’s Bay when he was 10. He says, for him, the gannets represent a symbol of freedom and lightness.

The sculpture was created thanks to a grant from Napier City Council’s Arts Advisory Panel. The lane is a busy thoroughfare connecting Hastings Street and Marine Parade in Napier.

Paxie’s Lane is named after a Greek family who were part of Napier’s retail culture since before the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, starting with their café named The Zealandia in the adjoining Paxies Building. A tea shop or restaurant continued to operate after the earthquake rebuild of 1932 until 2006 when the last Paxie proprietor, Nick Paxie, died. The lane was named in the Paxies’ honour in 2013.

'Great sentinels heralding sailors home...'

The Maori Pou in Ahuriri.The Māori Pou sculptures sited at West Quay and Pandora Estuary depict the area where the local Kahungunu Māori met with other visiting Māori in their waka laden with goods for trade and to exchange news of activities from different areas of New Zealand up to the 1890s.

The area was well known among Māori for a variety of seafood in the lagoon area and the around Park Island prior to the 1931 earthquake. There were a number of fishing villages on the islands in the lagoon who specialised in fishing and the collection of seafood.

The sculptures were carved by Hugh Tareha a local artist based at the Waiōhiki Marae.

'Rebuilt with 'Compassion, Efficiency, Dedication and Vision...'

Napier Rebuilt Sculpture.

The artwork, on Dickens Street, is a tribute to the four architects who were charged with designing the buildings in the city after the 1931 earthquake in Napier. The panels also show the different styles used by the architects even though they were supposed to have designed a common theme for the city.

The names of the architects are etched in the panels along with the styles that they favoured. The Art Deco style was favoured by E.A Williams, Finch & Westerholm preferred the Spanish Mission them, Natusch & Sons work reflected the growing modern movement and J A Louis Hay was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Interwoven throughout in these panels are the designs and motifs that were drawn from the traditional Ngati Kahungunu designs.

The total cost of the public art was about $65,500 that includes the artwork $45,500, plaques $5,000, bollards $8,000, lighting $4,000 and engineering & consent $3,000. The artist and designer was Jacob Scott and the artwork was installed in April 2009.

Panel 1 is a tribute to those architects and tradesmen who rebuilt the city after the devastating 1931 earthquake "It's a story of a rebuild in the face of adversity. Rebuilding was an immense task, the Napier Borough Council delegated its powers to two-men, John Saxon Barton, an accountant, barrister and magistrate and Lachlan Bain Campbell, an engineer who set about putting Napier back on its feet. "History records these commissioners as a couple of dictators who got on with the job - today we are plagued with bureaucratic red tape with compliance to be achieved in every direction."

Campbell and Barton pulled together the 6 architect firms in Napier to rebuild the city This artwork celebrates these people. Their effort and vision in the face of adversity has left Napier one of the most revered art deco cities in the world and provided the people of today not only with an economic treasure but a place they can enjoy themselves. Panel 2 recognises the beauty of this land and the rich Maori culture which underpins Aotearoa. Napiers architecture can be seen as an innovative response that has risen to the occasion utilising the collaborative effort and skills of tradesmen and craftspeople using the technology of the time.

Panel 2 is about Ruamoko - the god of earthquakes, it acknowledges the power of the Atua and the histories of this land. The pou remind us of Tane, god of the forests, light and knowledge and Tangaroa god of the sea. Papatuanuku, the earth mother and Ranginui the sky father are also acknowleged by the pou.


The Builders

That day when Ruamoko shook with anger - Breaking open the ocean's heaving basket, Splitting apart the walls of earth and rock And tearing down our city's living heart

Was the same day their vision was conceived - To build a new city from the ruins of the old. We peer back through the glass of time to glimpse A scene of devastation - shadows stumbling

Through a shattered streetscape, visitors frozen in shock, People searching for loved ones buried in rubble Some of them weeping, others blindly digging, Hundreds doing whatever they could to assist

But more powerful than the wrath of Ruamoko The idea of rebuilding had already formed In the minds of those ones with the courage to start again Whom we honour with our lives by living here -

Two men were picked to get rebuilding started - John Saxton Barton, accountant and barrister And Lachlan Bain Campbell the engineer - For the next two years those two made the decisions.

Their work is recorded in our history books The city centre fenced off for reconstruction, A new centre for commerce made in Tin Town, Builders and architects working as one team.

Eyes may glaze over as we scan the pages But we should never forget what they created. Call it Art Deco, call it Spanish Mission, Call them the settlers, call them Kahungunu

Call this New Zealand, call it Aotearoa - They gifted to each of us a better future - Building with all the power of purpose and chance A new place for all of our people to dance.

poem by BILL SUTTON 2009.

Panel 1Panel 2
Acknowleges John Saxton Barton and Lachlan Bain Campbell and the 6 architectual firms who designed the new town. Their vision in the face of adversity is an inspiration. They collaborated with tradesmen and craftspeople using technologies and ideas of the time and together they got on with the job of rebuilding in style and in record time. Acknowledges our culture and climate that makes this beautiful place that we live in. These men recognised the richness and vibrancy that already exists here with our Maori culture and flora and fauna. They responded by producing work that celebrates this and established Napier as one of the most revered places in the world.
Panel 3The Pou
Acknowledges Ruamoko the god of earthquakes, the youngest of the family of Atua who can be bad tempered. When Papatuanuku, the earth mother cannot sing him to sleep he sometimes shows us some of his power. He can shake the earth or fire up a volcano. At 10.47am on the 3rd february 1931 Ruamoko gave Napier a devastating shake

The Statue of Pania on Marine Parade.'Our Pania...'

A Māori legend tells how Pania left the sea people to marry Karitoki, a chieftain whose whare (house) was sited in an area now known as Sturm's Gully on Napier's Bluff Hill.

After Karitoki departed to fight in a long tribal war, Pania's original family called to her at sunset and at dawn. Unable, finally, to resist their siren voices, she swam out to meet them. When she attempted to return to the shore, however, she was drawn down to the caverns of the sea. Angered by her divided loyalties, Moana-nui-a-kiwa, lord of the sea, transformed her into a rocky shelf. Lying off the Napier breakwater, the beautiful sea creature is immortalised as Pania's Reef.

The statue of Pania of the Reef was presented to the city in 1954 by the Thirty Thousand Club. Vic Wallis, a member for almost 40 years, and Horace Cottrell, another member and enthusiastic supporter, conceived the idea of perpetuating the Māori legend after hearing the story from F A Bennett, the first Bishop of Aotearoa (New Zealand), when he was on a tour of Napier.

The Thirty Thousand Club was formed in 1913, and its members pledged to support the Napier community until its population reached 30,000. After 62 years, when it was nearing 50,000, the club was wound up.

Sited in Napier's Marine Parade Gardens, the bronze statue depicting the beautiful Māori woman is among of the city's most recognised and photographed attractions. It is believed to be the first to perpetuate a Māori legend.

Six students from Hukarere Māori Girls' College were chosen as possible models for the sculpture. The final honour went to 15-year-old Mei Robin - her face was the model for the bronze founding done by the Italian Marble Company of Carrera in Italy. The statue, which sits on a limestone base, was unveiled by Prime Minister Sid Holland in June 1954.

Mei, who attended the ceremony along with other pupils of the Napier Hill school, later married and her daughter, 14-year-old Joanne Whaitiri of Whakatū, posed as Pania on a City of Napier float designed and built for the 1974 City Centennial.

'A tribute to Taradale...'

Taradale Sculpture looking towards Lee Road carpark.The artwork installed in the shop laneway between the Bay Espresso cafē and the BNZ bank in Gloucester Street, Taradale was designed by Jacob Scott in association with Ricks Terstappen.

The main artwork on the BNZ wall is about Taradale and captures some of the significant features from the vineyards, farms and animals, the winding Tutaekuri River, the rolling hills behind Taradale, Otatara Pa site, the shopping centre and businesses.

The laneway was widened to connect the main street and Lee Road to encourage better access and interaction for visitors to the shopping centre as part of the Taradale Town Centre redevelopment plan with Council and the Taradale community.

The artwork was completed by the end of 2007 and cost about $10,000. This also included the two seats, lighting and the paving and lights in the laneway.

'One of our most widely travelled birds...'

Full view of the Godwit Sculpture close up.A bronze figure set on a concrete pedestal and inscribed 'The Godwit', this sculpture was made by Frank Szirmay.


The godwit is one of New Zealand's most widely travelled birds, migrating to and from the wildlife reserve adjacent to the airfield. A stylised form of the godwit was the symbol of the former national airline, NAC.

New Zealand National Airways presented the sculpture to the Hawke's Bay Airport Authority in 1977 to mark the city's centennial and the carrier's 20th year of service to the region.

C W Mace
Date: 18.5.1977

D A Patterson

'Gilded with gold...'

The gold of the kowhai sculpture. Standing four metres high, the Kowhai sculpture was created by renowned New Zealand artist Paul Dibble. It stands on the corner of Tennyson Street and Herschell Street, opposite MTG Hawke’s Bay.

Titled ‘The Gold of the Kowhai’, the artwork is cast bronze and the blossom petals are gilded with 24-carat gold and lacquer. At night time it is illuminated by light showcasing the sculpture in a golden glow.

Installed late November 2014, the sculpture was donated to the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust collection by the MTG Foundation. It was officially unveiled by the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry on 5th December 2014.

Paul Dibble, from Palmerston North, has been a bronze sculptor for many years and is well known for his large scale works.

Close up of the Tree Sculpture in Emerson Street with Valentine's Day hearts.'The Tree of Love...'

The steel sculpture at the intersection of Market and Emerson Streets was designed by local sculptors William Jamieson and Ricks Terstappen in consultation with artist and graphic designer, Gail Wright.

The tree was initially designed as a Christmas tree with silver holographic material on the panels at the end of the branches to catch the sun's rays and reflect a myriad of different colours.

The tree is made up of a number of parts which make it easy to assemble and dismantle. The shapes on the end of each branch are removable, enabling the sculpture to be transformed and themed around different events and promotions.

The structure was adorned with red hearts which were installed prior to Valentine's Day. However, they also reflect the warmth and vibrancy of the inner city - where people love to shop and conduct business.

There are some further structural changes in the pipeline which include an Art Deco theme. The sculpture is intended to be a permanent fixture.


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