This street art was part of the 2019 Whanganui Walls event and was painted by Elliott Frances Stewart. Read his artist statement:
"I wanted to paint a woman, with the river in mind, With a tilt of a hat she references some of the stories I have heard, to do with Whanganui and her past"
Elliot‘s piece depicts a strong female character, who has adorned herself with a variety of accessories that reference moments in Whanganui’s past and present. Below are a few hints at some of these stories.
- The Kahki girls were a group of women who were trained in drills during the South African (Boer) war and went on to become extremely popular entertainers until they began to outshine other male performers at events and were no longer allowed to appear in uniform.
- Thelma Kench was an Olympic sprinter who competed in the 1932 summer Olympics. She grew up in Whanganui and was selected to compete but selectors only had funds to send 3 male competitors. through fundraising efforts, she still managed to attend.
- Te Taura Whiri (to weave many strands). This forever statement of John Rangitihi Tahuparae reminds us as a people and community that we coexist, intrinsically, spiritually and physically with our environment. Rangitamiro is the practice of ropework by which many strands are spliced together.
- The native and now extinct bird, the moa. Many bones and fossils have been found in the Whanganui region.
- The mug has a made in NZ logo on it, referencing the song “Pie Cart Rock and Roll” Which was NZ’s first homegrown rock n roll song. Written by Johnny Cooper “the maori cowboy” who frequented the Whanganui pie cart on St Hill St.
- Whanganui Computer Centre bombing by anarchist Neil Roberts. A misguided and unfortunate act of defiance against the government's collection of citizens' private information.
Photo credit: Yoshi_travel_films