Posted by Ruth Woodward
Katikati youth are telling the town’s tales through public works of art MPOWA.
MPOWA, a local community youth group, has created a stunning piece of art which now stands tall in Moore Park.
The work, which reflects the unity of the town, spans four panels and is the first in the mural town to be youth-led and created.
It was designed, painted and created by 11 local youth involved in MPOWA graffiti art, alongside artist Benjamin Lloyd. Moore Park was chosen for the location because the skate park is a place that many locals enjoy, including youth.
MPOWA Youth Programme Coordinator Melody Bishop from the Katikati Community Centre, says the work shows how Māori and non- Māori have united over history and how a variety of cultures makes up Katikati’s character.
“If anyone in our community doesn’t believe our cultures or people are truly united, we want this mural to give them hope. We want to promote how great it is to have a community that is so culturally diverse but still comes together and fosters unity,’’ says Melody.
“We also wanted this art to reflect the different age groups within Katikati. All ages deserve to be regarded and represented equally within our community, just as all cultural groups do. The youth involved with this project have hope and believe in our community growing closer and growing together.’’
MPOWA embraces local youth with the aim to help them grow in confidence, gain employment and training, and access safe places where they can socialise or seek in emergencies. The group gives youth a voice in decisions that impact them locally.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s community engagement team has helped MPOWA find its feet in Katikati and gave $5000 toward helping establish the position of coordinator.
Katch Katikati Promotions Manager Jacqui Knight is the MPOWA chair. Staff and local Katikati councillors are a part of the community group that monitors, manages and supports MPOWA’s activities and projects.
Councillor Peter Mackay says MPOWA is an example of how community-based organisations can strengthen the community fabric and serve as a platform for good things to get done by youth.
“This art encourages our young citizens to walk tall and take their place in our society. The mural is a fine example of leadership, vision, talent and teamwork – it tells a story about great people with a great future.’’
The Moore Park artwork gained strong community support and was funded by Creative Communities NZ.