Artist Stan Mans has unveiled his award-winning mural titled ‘Breath of Life’ in Hastings.
Stan was one of ten winners from across the country who took out the top prize in Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Resene Nature Mural Competition 2023. This is the third time Stan has placed in the competition, previously winning in both 2019 and 2021.
The mural is located on the pump shed on the corner of St Andrews Road and Havelock Road, a busy intersection between Hastings and Havelock North.
Stan says the mural design focuses on the open plains of Hawke’s Bay with kids enjoying the outdoors and embracing nature and fresh air in a fun way. The children represent the community and the next generation.
“My inspiration for the painting is both Hawke’s Bay and my family. When I thought of this project I presented it to my wife and together we came up with the idea as a concept.
“In the mural both of the children perform fun childhood actions with the breath they breathe and this mixes in with the local backdrop of the grassy fields of Hastings stretching out over rolling hills to central Hawke’s Bay.”
Stan wanted to depict the great memories he has of his kids enjoying nature.
“Sitting in the field on a warm summer day, you really appreciate the shade trees provide and you can discover so much of your surroundings. The kids keep themselves busy for hours. This is a memory I treasure and it’s worth protecting.”
The mural incorporates a written message in both Māori and English – ‘Tiaki i te hā o te ora – Protect The Breath of Life’ – conveying the idea of safeguarding and taking care of the vital essence of life.
Stan received a lot of praise and support from the local Havelock North community whilst painting the mural and a few people even stopped by to tell Stan how appreciative they were of his effort.
“They loved the theme. It made me realise that we sometimes take for granted what impact art with a great message and theme has on a community. Many, many people drive on that road and I think it was an excellent position to paint it.”
The Resene Nature Mural Competition, which is part of the Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Paint New Zealand Beautiful programme, ran from April to June 2023. Community members were called on to submit environmentally-themed mural designs to paint on a wall in their local community. Artists from around the country sent in their designs, with the top ten murals selected in June based on their environmental message, enhancement of the community, originality and creativity. Winners had up to 12 months to bring their mural to life.
Winning artists received a $1,000 commission once the mural is completed, along with a $750 Resene paint voucher and other materials.
Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO Heather Saunderson says: “Our Resene Nature Mural Competition provides a great opportunity for artists to beautify their local communities. The beautification of public spaces greatly benefits communities by increasing civic pride, deterring vandalism and reducing anti-social behaviour such as littering and graffiti.”
“We were impressed with the dozens of high-calibre entries we received, so much so that narrowing the selection to just ten winners was a tough task! We’re thrilled to see the end result of Stan’s mural coming to life.”
Since its inception in 2017, there have been 57 Nature Murals commissioned as a result of the programme.
Press Release: Keep New Zealand Beautiful