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Mural of Aunty Bea to be unveiled on Sunday 22 September 2019

An intimate ceremony to unveil a large wall mural of the late Aunty Bea will be held this Sunday with her whānau.

Beatrice Yates (nee Grant) passed away last year and a mural created in her honour by Ngāi Tūhoe artist, Taumata Soloman, will be officially unveiled on Hinemoa Street, next to Ajays Emporium, on Sunday [22 September] at 4pm.

The mural entitled, Te Toki o Te Arawa Hero Mural, was created as part of the inaugural Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival.

Mr Soloman, who heads Rotorua Lakes High School’s Māori department, says he is humbled Aunty Bea’s whānau is happy to see her memory brightening Rotorua’s inner city.

“It reflects who Aunty Bea is and captures the essence of her wairua ātaahua (majestic life). I want people to see her radiant smile and interpret the woman she was to Rotorua.

“Aunty Bea was a very special person to me. She believed in sharing the arts through various mediums such as literature and music. She touched my heart and I’m privileged to gift my talent to remembering the wonderful mentor and champion she was to the arts.”

Taumata Soloman

Mr Soloman says he would love to see the ‘Te Toki o Te Arawa Hero Mural’ continue as part of the Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival so the city can celebrate local people who champion the arts.

In te reo Māori, Mr Soloman says it has been a year since Aunty Bea passed away and he hopes his work is a tribute to her family and the memory she leaves with Rotorua.

“E mihi ana ki te whānau a Aunty Bea kātahi ka hura i tōna kōhatu, i maumahara i a ia mō ngā mahi nui i oti i a ia, i a ia i te mata o te whenua. Hopefully this piece helps to keep her memory alive. E kore rawa e wareware.”

The mural unveiling on Sunday [22 September] will replace the advertised ceremony scheduled for 29 September.