Seawalls: Artists for Oceans in Quirky Napier, New Zealand

Seawalls: Artists for Oceans in Quirky Napier, New Zealand

On a recent cycling trip to Napier, the Polish Bear and I were astonished to find the most amazing street art in the side alleys, shop fronts and carpark walls. Art Deco Napier is a place full of surprises.

Seawalls: Artists for Oceans in Quirky Napier, New Zealand

Seawalls Napier: Bringing the oceans to the streets

Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans is a groundbreaking street art project created by PangeaSeed members and supporting artists to help bring the beauty and the plight of the world’s oceans into streets around the globe via art and activism.

Within the span of five days in March 2017, a group of internationally renowned artists created 29 large-scale, thought-provoking public murals, which were realized throughout the Ahuriri and Napier area. Each piece sheds light on New Zealand’s pressing marine environmental issues such as shark finning, overfishing, coastal development, climate change, and endangered marine life conservation, furthering PangeaSeed Foundation’s ARTivism (Art + Activism) initiative.

Beautiful and quirky Napier

This remote city on the eastern outcrop of the North Island is a hub of artistic creativity, quirky ideas and environmental activism. The city abuts the Taupo Volcanic corridor, a geothermal wonder and an active and bubbling field of geothermal activity. Therefore, Napier has borne the brunt of several catalcysmic earthquakes over the centuries. The most recent earthquake in 1931 flattened the city and killed 256 people, injuring thousands. To this day it’s known as the most deadliest natural disaster in New Zealand history.

As a result of that dark event, the flattened city of Napier was rebuilt from nothing to fit with the modern art deco style of the 20’s and 30’s. Art historians, film-makers, artists and architects love the city of Napier for its unique take on Art Deco design. This includes original lead-lighting, architraves and architecture that gives a distinctively retro look to everything in the city. Parks, city buildings, cinemas, open air theatres, clocks, municipal features like toilet blocks are all created in the Art Deco style.

Over the decades, Napier has become a holiday destination for people in both Auckland and Wellington. With its sunny Mediterranean climate, beautiful Pacific ocean outlook, great food and prime location close to vineyards in the Hawkes Bay region, its a magnet for weekend visitors, retirees and younger people looking to bring up families.

More recently, Napier has become the hip and trendy (and affordable) alternative for young people to move, compared to Auckland where it’s virtually impossible to purchase a house under 1 million anywhere in the city.

The city has a great open-hearted vibe and now with the addition of exceptional street art, there is a lot of reasons to visit sunny Napier. I have to admit that this is my favourite town in New Zealand because of the above cultural reasons. I have referred to it as a city, but just a proviso it’s more of a town than a city by international standards

The message of Seawalls

Seawalls and the Pangeaseed Foundation is all about using street art to bring the urgent plight of the oceans to the fore of public discussion. Our oceans are the Earth’s life support system, providing 70% of the oxygen we breathe, a sixth of the animal protein people eat, medicines that keep us alive and healthy, and so much
more, human impact in the form of overfishing, climate change, development, plastics, and other forms of pollution are taking a toll on the health of our seas.

Unfortunately, these critical issues are often complex, multi-faceted and hard to understand for the average citizen. Through public art, Sea Walls and the Pangeaseed Foundation translate facts into visual stories that engage the public in a non-confrontational manner, and increase awareness.

All artists who contribute to Sea Walls volunteer their time and exceptional talent to our cause. Sea Walls nurtures a community of creative ambassadors for our world’s oceans.

Read more about the artists behind Seawalls in Napier



Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

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