HeART of the Community arrives in the Gumboot Capital

Taihape now has its own take on one of Andy Warhol’s most famous artworks, becoming the eighth rural town to benefit from Farmlands’ HeART of the Community. The colourful Pop art mural painted by renowned artist Otis Frizzell on Taihape’s Farmlands store features portraits of six sheep pulling typical sheep faces. Inspired by Andy Warhol’s famous 1962 Pop artwork of Marilyn Monroe, the mural was co-created with the help of Farmlands Taihape staff to reflect the town’s spirit, history and environment.

Otis says the idea to paint the sheep came from seeing so many when driving through and around the Rangitikei town. “I wondered what it would be like to paint sheep as if they were having their portraits taken to show their fun and quirky side.” He says the mural is Taihape’s take on Warhol’s famous work, known as Marilyn Diptych. “It may not become as famous, but I hope the Taihape locals will enjoy looking at their version as much as I’ve enjoyed working with Farmlands to paint it.”

The work paints another picture of Taihape, known as the gumboot capital of New Zealand. A gumboot was not included in the mural’s design because the Farmlands store sits less than a kilometre away from the famous corrugated iron gumboot sculpture.

More than 50 excited locals went to the mural’s public gifting ceremony in early November. Farmlands Taihape Business Manager Mike Collings says they were stoked to work with an artist of Otis’ calibre to create something for the community.

“Locals are already saying how fun and quirky the mural is. It complements our gumboot capital status quite nicely and it will bring the community a lot of joy in years to come.” - Michael Collings, Farmlands Taihape Business Manager.

Check it out at Farmlands Taihape,

3 Linnet St, Taihape.

HeART of the Community arrives in Kaikoura

In November last year Farmlands Kaikoura received a HeART of the Community piece of art, the seventh of 15 pieces of art commissioned for Farmlands stores around New Zealand.

The mural took shape as the Kaikoura community marked the first anniversary of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck the area on 14th November 2016.

Created with collective inspiration from numerous members of the Kaikoura community – including students and teachers at the high school, the council, Lions Club, Iwi, local tourism providers and the Farmlands Kaikoura team – the artwork celebrates Kaikoura’s recovery, strength and resilience.

The team at Farmlands Kaikoura wanted the mural to showcase their “slice of heaven”, and the connection between the people and the landscape that is at the heart of the Kaikoura community.

The artwork references what locals feel makes the area special, from the sun-grazed mountains, to the endangered Hutton’s shearwater seabird, the sparkling paua and of course the crayfish.

An idea from a local high school student inspired the hands on each side of the mural, which represent the strength, courage and spirit that has been highlighted in the community during a challenging time.

Kaikoura District Council Mayor, Winston Gray says he is grateful to have Farmlands commission an incredible artist to promote the community in Kaikoura.

“My main focus post-earthquake has been to join together the community and recover what it had, but to also help it move into a brighter future. I believe this project truly honours the continuous efforts of the people here and will continue to inspire the community to work towards a more beautiful, recovered Kaikoura.”

Mr G says he was honoured to have the opportunity to bring attention to such a hard-working community in the process of restoring their town since the earthquake.

Farmlands Kaikoura was the final HeART of the Community mural for 2017, wrapping up an eventful year.

Taumarunui receive a makeover from Mr G

Taumarunui recently became the sixth Farmlands store to receive a HeART of the Community piece of art.

The huge mural depicts one of the many river steamers that frequented the Whanganui and Ongarue rivers during the early 1900s. The river steamers were used for transporting people, livestock and supplies to the surrounding districts.

Ruapehu District Mayor Don Cameron expressed his thanks to Farmlands and Mr G for the mural dedicated to the community of Taumarunui. “The mural is very important for everyone but particularly important for Taumarunui,” he says. “We’re extremely proud and very lucky to have this.”

Mr G says it was an honour to connect with the people of Taumarunui and hear their stories. “This river is so significant and important, it is an absolute privilege to paint it and capture the beauty,” he says. “This is what we love.”

The design for each HeART of the Community artwork is created with help from the community and Farmlands staff – and for Taumarunui it was the Whanganui River that had special significance. This significance shines through in the mural.

The 290 kilometre Whanganui River is the second longest river in the North Island, after the Waikato. The river has spectacular scenery in its middle reaches, north of Pipiriki, where it passes through a series of narrow gorges set amidst lush native forest.

The Whanganui River made headlines recently when it was announced that former minister Dame Tariana Turia and educator Turama Hawira will act as the “human faces” of the river to ensure its rights are protected. This followed the world-first decision made earlier this year, which granted the Whanganui River its own legal identity, giving it the same rights as a person.

Dannevirke remembers bygone bullock days

Mr G recently visited the town of Dannevirke to complete the fifth HeART of the Community art project.

Although this mural is the smallest of they’ve painted so far, it tells an important story of Dannevirke’s farming history.

Named for the Danish and Norwegian families that settled there in 1872, the town of Dannevirke thrived well into the 20th century on the back of farming prosperity. The Dannevirke mural depicts a team of Hereford bullocks, which were commonly used to transport goods in the area during the early 1900s.

The week was action packed with plenty of people stopping to chat to Mr G and his wife Milly as the artwork took shape – around 200 people turned up to the official unveiling to see the finished product.

Mr G says he loves the opportunity to feel the heart and vibe of each community that he paints the murals for.

“The joy for me is not just painting the mural and using my art to tell local stories but it’s actually connecting with the locals,” he says. “It’s a huge part of mine and my wife’s heart. We love to connect with people in a real and genuine way.”

Dannevirke Mayor Tracy Collis was delighted her town had the chance to be a part of the project and to bring the focus back on the people who contribute so much to the community.

“We are very excited to receive our own specially- designed mural,” she says. “We have a tight knit community of hard-working, friendly and hospitable people and it is always a pleasure to host other people here and show them the Dannevirke way.”

There are 10 more Farmlands stores in line to receive a Mr G makeover – you can follow Mr G and the HeART of the Community project on the Farmlands Facebook page, Instagram or at www.heartofthecommunity.co.nz

Gisborne celebrates local hero

Gisborne welcomes Farmlands’ HeART of the Community project and Mr G.

Farmlands Gisborne was given more than just a splash of colour recently, as Mr G worked his magic on the fourth HeART of the Community piece of art.

The inspiration for the artwork came from staff at Farmlands Gisborne, who are immensely proud of their community and what makes it special. The mural includes the Tolaga Bay wharf, Rere Falls and an amazing portrait of Te Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu, the first M ori recipient of a Victoria Cross.

Te Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa, affectionately known as Mo, was born at his family farm at Whareponga in 1918. He attended Whareponga and Hiruharama School, before finishing with 2 years at Te Aute in Hawke’s Bay. Mo returned to work on the Whareponga farm for 4 years and also played rugby union for the Hikurangi team and participated in the Hikurangi Parish Choir.

At age 21, he went to fight in World War II as a member of the 28th Maori Battalion. He was killed in 1943 while valiantly defending a position they had captured from German forces in Tunisia. He received the Victoria Cross posthumously in 1943.

Mo’s legacy continues in the form of a scholarship to promote Maori education – and even though he is buried at Sfax in Tunisia, his memory lives on in the community.

Mr G says painting Te Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa was a “humbling” experience for him. “It has been a huge honour for me to be permitted and entrusted by the family to paint the portrait in honour of him and the entire Maori Battalion.”

Farmlands is proud to be able to keep the memory of this important past alive for future generations and highlight the unique identities of New Zealand’s rural communities as part of the HeART of the Community project.

Paying tribute to Putaruru

Farmlands Putaruru is now the third Farmlands store to receive a locally-inspired art piece. The Farmlands Heart of the Community project is making its way around the country to showcase the unique identities of New Zealand’s rural communities.

The team at Farmlands Putaruru wanted the mural to pay tribute to the town’s sawmilling history, the beautiful Waihou River (also known as Blue Spring) and of course the ruru (morepork), New Zealand’s only surviving native owl, from which the town’s name is derived.

With Paeroa and Invercargill already complete, Mr G says he was excited to capture the spirit of Putaruru in his artwork.

“It has been so enlightening to visit smaller cities and towns where people really wear their hearts on their sleeve,” he says.

“It gives me an immense sense of pride to bring attention to the people in our hard-working towns that contribute so much to New Zealand economically and socially.”

South Waikato District Council Mayor, Jenny Shattock says it has been both refreshing and inspiring to see a prominent artist promoting the great town of Putaruru.

“The Putaruru community are some of the most passionate and loyal people,” she says.

“Many people drive through the town without realising what a great place it truly is. Putaruru is a well serviced, centrally located town with outstanding community pride making it a great place to live and work.”