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Public art – uplifting and connecting

matariki MyHastings

Vibrant and thriving cities often have art at their centre, and in Hastings several public art projects over the past couple of months have inspired and delighted.

Council’s support of public art projects is part of its overall revitalisation strategy for the city centre, which includes visual statements that attract visitors, and also connect people, businesses and organisations.

Most recently this included some amazing street art by Tamaki Shimaoka who transformed the entrance to the Tribune Building on Queen St with a 3D chalk-drawing for the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival.

The Year 13 Taikura Rudolf Steiner School student created two pieces in recent weeks, one in Hastings and one in Napier, for the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival.

This followed the highly successful Big Apple Project, a collaboration between Arts Inc Heretaunga and Studio Benega, supported by Hastings District Council, which celebrated the local apple industry and transformed the city’s public spaces into a fun, free art gallery.

The apples were set to be auctioned off on October 26, and over the past two months, Hastings District Council created videos showcasing the artworks and the artists, who explained where their inspiration came from. These are still available to view at

Also bringing the city alive last month was the inaugural Foto Fest – a city-wide photography event managed by Foto Iwi creative charitable trust and supported by Hastings District Council city activation funding.

From exhibitions to workshops, talks and competitions this initiative put art at the front and centre of bringing people together and offering participants, both young and old, experienced and beginner, an opportunity to express their creativity.

Adding to these transient events, more permanent public art is being added to the city, including murals such as one completed in August on the wall of the old Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Co-op Association garage at 206 Queen St West.

The mural presents a snapshot of a piece of Hastings city history that also honours its rural past, and its appearance stirred a lot of memories for people who remembered the building and its former uses.

Created by local artist Brandon Blair, of Crimson Flower Ltd, he has also turned his hand to another piece installed opposite Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre – the design using elements of the logos of both Toitoi and Te Whare Toi o Heretaunga - Hastings City Art Gallery.

Adding to the colour of the city centre over the past couple of years has been the lightboxes that are used to showcase events and activities. Being lit from within they provide stunning imagery that can be enjoyed both day and night.

28 October 2022

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