Artist preserves hill view with mural on kindergarten fence

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When a Wellington artist learned a spectacular view of the hills at her son’s kindergarten would be blocked by a housing development next door she got out her paintbrushes.

Artist Hana Carpenter and her son in front of the mural of the hills.

Photo: Supplied

Knowing the view would soon disappear, Hana Carpenter spent two days painting onto the kindy’s fence the exact view children see from their playground.

When 20 terraced houses are built over the fence, the kids at Waiwhetu Kindergarten in eastern Lower Hutt will still be able to see their local hills.

“It used to be a big open area and now it’s got quite tight two-storey housing all around, so this is their last little view of nature and the kids do really love it,” said Carpenter, whose youngest child – three-year-old Reuben – attends the kindergarten.

“If you’re standing in front of the fence then you’re looking at the view so it’s a direct correlation. That’s the last remaining side of the kindy that has open space because all of the other boundaries have been progressively built up over the years.”

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“They’re quite an important marker of this area and the landscape, you can see them from everywhere,” Carpenter said. “They are significant.”

She used a photograph of the view and peeked over the fence to re-create the landscape for the kindergarten’s children with exterior house paint.

“It just seemed like a logical thing to do when I heard this apartment block was getting its framing up it’s just got its slab but it’s going to be blocking out that view in the next couple of months so I just really felt for them because I know the kids do love it,” she said.

“They did really respond to me doing the mural it was pretty cute. I got some really funny comments like ‘are you a real arist’.”

It’s the third mural she has painted of the Waiwhetu hills for the community – the others are at her older children’s school and a church community hall.

“I know we need houses, it’s very important there’s a housing crisis, but finding that balance between preserving natural spaces for people to not feel completely hemmed in by concrete,” Carpenter said.

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She said it felt right to preserve the kindergarten’s view.

“That’s why I wanted to do it, just give them something to look at that’s beautiful instead of just having to stare at a concrete wall.”

Waiwhetu is known for its bush walks with Te Whiti Park and the Hayward Eastern Hills Scenic Reserve on its doorstep. It also has Waiwhetu marae, one of the largest urban marae in the country, on the foothills.

The housing development has also affected her own family’s house, which she and her husband sold last year after problems with the developer.

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