Tauranga takes tally to ten

Painting a picture of provincial communities – HeART of the Community, New Zealand’s prime rural art collection, has been bolstered by a giant new mural.

Tauranga is the tenth location for a bold public artwork produced by a top Kiwi artist. Each Farmlands commission depicts aspects of rural New Zealand and captures the local community’s spirit, history and environment.

Tauranga, one of our fastest-growing centres, is the gateway to beaches, the Mount and a port. Putting the ‘plenty’ into Bay of Plenty, it is also the capital of kiwifruit and avocado growing and boasts a large lifestyle community.

On the outside of Tauranga’s Farmlands store, multi-disciplinary artist Erika Pearce has painted her take on the area’s characteristics. The large-scale project was completed in early May, involving a condensed 32 hours of work, due to bad weather at the outset.

“It was a big deal entrusting an artist to take our idea and turn it into reality. However, as we watched it unfold everyday it got more vibrant and fun,” Farmlands Tauranga Business Manager Nigel Wilson says.

This artwork has a rich horticultural flavour. Animal footprints are painted alongside fruit and fauna, all anchored by a striking tui on a kowhai. The mural is inspired by the look and feel of the popular ‘living wall’ concept.

“Everyone just loves it. It’s been a great conversation starter and we think our building now has the most personality on the road. It certainly reflects our store staff – bright, fun and a little crazy,” Nigel says.

Erika is from Auckland but spent time on family farms as a child. This project was a chance for the award-winning artist to “give back” and recognise the “strong connection I feel with people who work the land”.

Local Farmlands staff were involved in the development of the design concept. As with the other successful murals, on display around the country from Taihape to Invercargill, these illustrate the co-operative’s commitment to its rural communities.

To follow the HeART of the Community journey, check out the Farmlands Facebook page, Instagram or www.heartofthecommunity.co.nz