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New piece of art planned for Dunedin comes with a message

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A new piece of public art being created in Dunedin will use the city’s thriving art culture to spread the message about the importance of healthy people and a healthy environment.

Well-known Dunedin artist Guy Howard-Smith will this week start painting a Smokefree mural on the side of the Office Max building in Great King Street.  It is expected to take up to two weeks to complete.

The Dunedin mural is the initiative of Catherine Thomas and Komal Suratwala, Health Promotion Advisors at Public Health South and Anoop Gopalakrishnan, Health Promotion Specialist at WellSouth, and is based on Palmerston North’s mural project, using art as a way of normalising and representing a Smokefree future.  It is also in line with Smokefree Aotearoa 2025, the Government’s goal to reduce the prevalence of smoking and improve health outcomes for New Zealanders.

Artist Guy Howard-Smith said his artwork would show a lung physically attached to the earth and trees which symbolised how population health and the health of the whenua were intertwined. “A new dawn rises” written in both English and Te Reo, would refer to a new start that we could make as a nation, and was also reflected in the night sky with the first birds rising at dawn.

Ms Suratwala said the mural, and the Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 goal, were about protecting our environment, children and future generations from smoke-related harm. “If they don’t see it [smoking] they are less likely to start,” Mr Gopalakrishnan said.

Ms Thomas said cigarette butts contained heavy metals and nicotine, which were damaging to the environment. “People know smoking is damaging to health but rarely think about the environmental impact of dropping their cigarettes, which Guy highlights through his art”, she said.

The project team especially thanked building owner N & E S Paterson, Office Max, Bramwell Scaffolding, Accessman and Resene for partnering with them to deliver this mural and support a Smokefree future.  They encouraged residents and visitors to Dunedin to go along and check out progress as the mural is painted.

“Having this mural developed has been super exciting and something new. People can think and reflect about what it means. Art is cool like that, you may notice one thing one day and something completely different the next. It’s something people are going to keep looking at and thinking about, and hopefully tell their friends,” Ms Thomas said.


For more information, please contact:

Catherine Thomas, Health Promotion Advisor, Public Health South - Southern DHB   

M 027 237 6444