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New Hastings library mural celebrates Pasifika community

library mural web

Reverend Iakopo Fa’afuata, left, Pietsch Leiser, Hastings councillor Peleti Oli, Amataga Iuli, Sieni Fa’afuata, Hinemaria Onesi, Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst, Elijah Ioane and Brandon Blair at the blessing of the new mural on the Hastings War Memorial

About 80 people gathered at the Hastings War Memorial Library today to unveil and bless a new mural that has been painted on the eastern wall of the building.

Painted by Brandon Blair of Crimson Flower Ltd, it depicts the journey of the early Pasifika ancestors to Aotearoa with design elements representing the many different cultures of the Pacific.

It came about through Arts Inc. Heretaunga’s culture canvas initiative, which is behind three other murals that have appeared in the city over the last year.

Arts Inc. Heretaunga’s Pietsch Leiser said the aim was to celebrate diversity and “bring Pacific culture to the forefront in the middle of town.”

When the idea first came about he contacted Hastings councillor Peleti Oli, who helped connect him to the district’s Pasifika Student Leadership Group.

This group then came up with some design concepts, which mural artist Brandon Blair brought to life in the striking artwork.

Student Leadership Group member Elijah Ioane said the designs came from a wide range of Polynesian countries such as Samoa, Tonga, The Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Niue, Tokelau and Papua New Guinea.

“After we gave them to Brandon we were surprised to see how close the final design was to what we had supplied, and it was amazing to see the process of stencilling and painting the mural on the wall.”

The mural not only tells the story of the journey taken to Aotearoa, it also shows the past, on the left hand side, and the present/future on the right hand side.

At today’s blessing Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was a privilege and honour to unveil the artwork, and she thanked all those involved in bringing it to life.

“It signifies what the Pacific means to us in Hastings – we are proud of our Pacific community and what they contribute to make Hastings a great place to live.”

This mural was made possible with support from: Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival, Arts Inc. Heretaunga, Hawke’s Bay Foundation, Lotteries Communities, Resene Paints Hastings and Hastings District Council.

10 February 2021

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