The Murals of Katikati
Every town and settlement in New Zealand has its history. Together, they form the story of our people, of Maori and Pakeha. In Katikati you can see that history everyday, not in a gallery or a museum, but by walking down the main street.

The region's first settlers were early Maori voyagers, first Ngaiterangi and then Ngati Ranginui. Their descendants still live in the three marae of Te Rereatukahia, Tahawai and Otawhiwhi.

In 1875 George Vesey Stewart brought the first party of Irish settlers to Katikati, the only planned Ulster settlement in the world. 34 families cleared the land, planted crops, and built their homes. A second party arrived in 1878, giving a total of 600 settlers.

In 1990, at a time when Katikati was facing an economic downturn, a group of volunteers decided to lift the spirits of the local community and to attact visitors by painting our unique history on the walls of the town.

The murals of Katikati are an interpretation of the town's history, its people and events. They draw inspiration from the past as they help the town look to the future. From three murals in 1991, the town now features 44. In addition Katikati features a growing collection of other outdoor art. This growth will continue as Katikati Open-Air Art and the community plan more murals, more sculptures, and more festivals. On this page we feature a small selection of the artworks on display. Click here to visit the murals website.

Images of then - and now #1 ...

right: The Bullock Team, Ken Young, Hamilton.

The Wharawhara catchment, just south of Katikati, was the southern limit of kauri logging in New Zealand. Bullocks were used to haul kauri logs on the Kaimai Range in the first decade of the twentieth century, notably on Cashmore’s Clearing, a plateau near the summit of the Kaimai behind Katikati.

Images of then - and now #2 ...

left: Main Street. 1991, Peter Crammond, Papamoa. This mural is based on a photograph taken between 1935 and 1940. Most of the buildings on the right of the mural still exist.

For artist Peter Cramond the mural represents Katikati's past, present and future - two cultures together in a community. A positive spiritual energy from the past is helping those in the present to build a strong and secure future.

Beaten copper reflects the setting sun ...

right: Wind Vane. 1999, Hamish McIntyre, Katikati

Many cultures ...

left: We Live Here Too. 1998, Pupils of Katikati Primary School. Major multimedia project.

Designed and constructed by the 620 children at the Katikati Primary School. The project represents the 32 cultural heritages of the pupils attending the school in that year. The 'story poles' display symbols of the many cultures whose people made their journeys to Katikati by waka, sailing ship, ocean liner or by the air and is an interpretation of the taniwha or spirit guardian of the park.

From the hills to the sea ...#1

right: Pohutukawa Sentinel. 1999, Jessie Brodie, Katikati. Jessie completed this work while in her final year at Katikati College. The green hills of the Kaimai Range give way to one of the many rivers and streams which flow into the harbour. Pohutukawa trees feature strongly in the work.

From the hills to the sea ... #2

left: The River Was the Road. 1996, Stephen Hall, Auckland. Stephen created this sculpture over three days during the November 1996 Mural Magic Festival. He used a mixture of sand, cement and other ingredients to create a medium which sets quickly and is worked before it completely hardens. The sculpture features the local environment from the hills to the sea and reminds us of the need to protect our native flora and fauna.