Summer spruce up for CBD powerboxes


14 November 2017

The term “Rotorua experience” will mean something different to everyone and 15 artists have been given the opportunity share what it means to them.

They’re painting their interpretations on 30 Unison Network powerboxes around the inner city.

After eight years the powerboxes were due for a refresh so a call was sent out to the local art community asking for designs to be submitted. Any type of art was welcomed as long as it represented The Rotorua Experience in some way.

Thirty designs from 15 artists were selected from 40 submissions considered by a community selection panel.

Local artist Jessica Newman-Murphy has four powerboxes to paint and says her designs celebrate the beauty of our city and what we cultivate here.

“This public exhibition is an opportunity for me to add some of my own design work to the cityscape of Rotorua and also the chance to include some te reo Maori, acknowledging the Council's recent and progressive decision for Rotorua to become a bilingual city.

“I think it’s important to create opportunities like this because art does so many things. It defines a physical space, brings people together, creates a sense of belonging, reveals truth, encourages expression, reflects community values, raises morale ... to name just a few!

“I’m happy to see council focusing more on arts and culture because art serves to enrich the physical, economic, social, cultural and spiritual elements of the community. It benefits and transforms the community,” Newman-Murphy says.

Her designs feature the idea of a city declaration of ‘love, peace and joy’; the richness of our Māori culture, the prayer of our national anthem and Whakaaria Mai, the song made famous by Rotorua’s own Sir Howard Morrison.

Once all the powerboxes have been completed the public will have the chance to vote for their favourite design. The winning artist will receive a $1000 cash prize with $500 for the runner-up.

The powerbox canvases and prize money are generously provided by electricity distributor, Unison Networks.   

Relationship Manager Danny Gough says Unison is proud to support the local artists.

“We are delighted to support this initiative as it not only transforms our power cabinets into pieces of art, it also promotes the work of talented local artists and adds to the vibrancy of the CBD.”


1. Artist Jessica Newman-Murphy next to recent public artwork she did in Tihi-o-tonga.

2. One of the designs Jessica is currently working on

Page reviewed: 14 Nov 2017 12:00pm