Palmerston North's bid for a smokefree city

By Regan Paranihi

Palmerston North City Council has teamed up with the community, local artist and many organisations to create the largest mural in town.

The mural features on the side of the Highbury Whānau center and is 204 square meters.

The mural represents what being smokefree means to the Highbury community, and symbolises their pride and the importance of a smokefree future.

The artwork aligns with the belief that Tangata Whenua has certain rights to equity in health and equality.

Community Groups Advisor Pascal Francois says, “We wanted to engage with our community in a meaningful way and enable them to contribute to the conversation.”  

Local artist Gemma Farrell and Ephraim Russell were inspired by the answers the community put forward when the question ‘What does a smoke-free world look like’, was posed to the Highbury community. As a result, depictions of flowers, birds, and fresh air were common themes.

An official blessing and unveiling of the mural is being held on Sunday 11 February at the Highbury Whanau Centre.

Programme line-up:

· 10:45 am: Blessing of mural by Rangitane representative Wiremu Te Awe Awe

· 11 am Unveiling of the plaque followed by speeches from Mayor and representatives of DHB, Highbury Whanau Centre, and Te Wakahuia.

· 11:15 – 3 pm: Summer Social Concert featuring local and national acts, followed by a community touch rugby tournament.

* The Smoke-free Reference Group was created under the Smokefree Outdoor Areas Policy which Council adopted in 2013. The purpose of the reference group is to monitor the implementation of the policy, and its impact on the community.

The group includes representatives from Council, Horizons, Heart Foundation, MidCentral Public Health and the Cancer Society.