Hawkes Bay

Sea Walls in my hometown

PangeaSeed Foundation came to my hometown last week. Twenty-five international artists spent the week  transforming the walls of the inner city and Ahuriri (the inner harbour). There’s no escaping the message. And who would want to? They call it artivism—a combination of art and activism.

The project has captured the imagination of our community. Every mural I visited (I haven’t seen them all, yet) was surrounded by groups of admirers.  Each mural  tells a story, sends a message, and they do it a beautiful way.

We started out at Perfume Point. When I was kid I avoided going there.  It got its name from the sewer outfall that used to spill waste not far from the beach. Thank goodness that no longer happens here. The beacon guiding the yachts and fishing trawlers to safe harbour has been transformed, and the only smell is fresh sea air.


The beacon at Perfume Point, Ahuriri, Napier


Starting out young!  Perfume Point, Ahuriri Napier, Seawalls of Aotearoa


When you don’t have a camera, a feather will do the job. Seawalls, Perfume Point, Ahuriri, Aotearoa


A fishing trawler returns to harbour, Perfume Point, Ahuriri, Napier, SeaWalls of Aotearoa

We bumped into old friends (Hi there, G and J) who were doing the same as us—admiring the artwork and reflecting on the message.

One hundred metres further along the boardwalk, towards the inner harbour, shops and restaurants, hotels, offices, factories and warehouses are all newly painted. They’re vibrant, eye-catching, and stop traffic. Yep,  cars slowed to a crawl, sometimes came to a complete halt while their divers gaped at the images. Luckily, it was a Sunday and a lazy one, and  no-one was in a hurry.

Perhaps the most ambitious was this huge mural. You won’t be able to tell from this shot but the whale’s stomach is filled with ocean trash.


A whale of a mural

And immediately around the corner, near where our children once fished from the wharf,  this image made me wonder/worry about life for future fishers.


Despair —SeaWalls, Ahuriri, Napier, Aotearoa, New Zealand

And this, of a whale and a trawler, is one of my favourite images. The colours are eye catching, the attention to detail left me gasping and scrambling over the gardens. I was careful.  No plants were harmed in my hunt for the perfect angle but I did get a beauty bruise on my shin!


Bryde Whales are often killed when struck by fishing trawlers. Seawall, Ahuriri, Napier, NewZealand

There are Seascape murals in the city centre, too.  I took these photos with my iPhone.



We need to look after the our sea animals. Seawalls, Napier, New Zealand/Aotearoa


New Zealand’s Fairy Tern and the Chatham Island Taiko are endangered.

Conditions weren’t perfect and the photo of my all time favourite doesn’t do it justice. I need to get another shot when the sun is lower in the sky. But an easterly has set in, it’s raining and I can hear the waves crashing onto the foreshore as I type. Photography will have to wait. But for now, here it is: Askew1’s Kaitiaki. Isn’t she beautiful? Isn’t she haunting?


Kaitiaki by Askew1  (Napier City Council Building)

If you’d like to know more about Askew1 or see a better version of this image visit his website: Askew1.

If you’d like to know more about this transformative initiative and artivism check out Sea Walls: Murals of Oceans on Facebook or the PangeaSeed Foundation website

For more walks around the world, usually on a Monday, visit Jo’s Monday walks.

And tell me, which of these murals is your favourite. Have you come across artivism in your part of the world?

36 replies »

  1. These are the kind of murals you want to re-visit over and over and, each time, you discover more details. It didn’t sink in until the fifth picture that these murals were also environmental and political statements. A whale with a stomach full of trash – heart breaking what we are all doing to the oceans and the entire planet. I saw several documentaries on the plastic soup our oceans have begun to avoid plastic whenever possible; but I’m always the odd one out when I demand that we don’t use throw-away plates and utensils at community functions or bring my own coffee mug to the store. These are such small gestures but would become very meaningful if millions of people would do the same thing. I love the image of the whale blending into the boat and lifestyle items flying all around – we kill what we love the most with our comfortable lifestyles and don’t even make the connection! Thanks for sharing this very important artwork with us. Do you think there might be some follow-up to these murals where people can actually learn some practical things to do to cut down on their own contributions with environmental impact, perhaps in the form of workshops/lectures/school trips?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Annette. During the week of the festival there were lectures and public talks about the project and the message. But more than this, what has excited me, is the informal talking I’ve overheard while visiting the murals. Mums and Dads and grandparents and other caregivers taking the time to explain the murals to the children. And the children listening and asking questions, many of them—most of them—their faces alight with interest; that gives me great hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think another trip to Napier is on the cards Jill, next time we are in NZ, these murals are all fascinating. But Kaitiaki is stunning, as you say so haunting and I went to the link and I think your photo and the light you have caught enhances the feeling of mystery. Will you be showing us some more?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to my blog, Stephen and thanks for commenting. There’s no shortage of walls here. In fact, I wish more of them got the SeaWalls treatment, especially in the CBD. Nevertheless, we do have a veritable feast of murals now.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. How lucky are you to have experienced this amazing, impactful event in your hometown. Beautiful artwork and spot on message! Love the Askew1 work. So wish I could have been there. Wonderful to see it through your eyes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m still absorbing it all Lisa. I tried to catpure the mural on the aquarium yesterday—I just could do it justice. Like most, if not all, art they are best seen in actuality. And you know, if you and the Captain ever sail down this way I’m sure they’ll still be here for you to check out 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, she’s beautiful, and what a beautiful, thought provoking collection of murals! Thank you so much for sharing, Jill, and for doing me the honour of linking my name to it. 🙂 I love your capture of the youngster with a feather! I wish I could walk there in person. 🙂 Happy Easter to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there Jo, I think the boy with the feather represents the essence of the SeaWalls project. He listened as his Mum, at least I think she was his Mum, explained the mural to him, and then watched and mimicked others reacting to the art work. Happy Easter, to you, too. Oh, I think you’d really enjoy wandering around here, Jo, especially when the weather is kind — we’re heading into autumn now of course, and there’s the first chill in the air.


    • We’re having a spell of wet weather here at the moment, Dan, which is to be expected, it is autumn, afterall. But when it clears I hope to check out the rest of the murals—everyday I hear about another one.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Meeka's Mind and commented:
    A glorious and thought provoking post arrived from New Zealand this morning.
    Perhaps if we had a Pangea Foundation here in Australia our Great Barrier Reef would not be fighting for it’s life right now.
    We may not be able to fight Climate Change from just one spot on earth, but we really could stop the local toxins from flooding into the reef now couldn’t we?

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s the plan, Anabel and they look like they’ll last. Yes, the fairy tern is pretty. It was the very first mural I saw, I was on my way to my favourite coffee shop, and it piqued my interest to go looking for more.

      Liked by 1 person

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