Napier Port was proud to participate in the Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans Festival in 2016, welcoming mural artists onto the port.
The festival was run by Pangeaseed Foundation (based in Hawaii), and saw blank walls across Napier transformed by international mural artists. The aim of the festival was to raise ongoing awareness of environmental issues through “artivism” – activism through art.
Napier Port has two murals that were created as part of the Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans Festival. The first, by Hawaiian artist Kai Kaulukukui, highlights the plight of the Māui dolphin and links Māori and Hawaiian culture through the story of Māui.
The second, by Charles and Janine Williams, highlights the plight of the kuaka or bar-tailed godwit, an endangered shore bird endemic to New Zealand. The mural speaks of the courage needed to drive change, with the artists inspired by Chief Tu Ahuriri (for whom Ahuriri/Napier is named). Faced with a blocked entrance to the Ahuriri lagoon that threatened cultivations surrounding the bay, Chief Tu Ahuriri carved a new channel into the lagoon. With such courage and an understanding of the greater good, we can change the fate of the kuaka.
The rectangular design across the background of the mural is an ancient Māori pattern known as roimata. Translating as ‘tears of the albatross’, it signifies hurt, loss or sadness. The diamond symbol over the kuaka is known as a pātiki and signifies our kaitiaki or guardianship of the bird.