New public toilet features lit up art

Published on 28 November 2019

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On Monday, 2 December a new public toilet, featuring artwork which lights up at night, will open on Victoria Avenue. The single unisex toilet is wheelchair accessible and is located in Block Four between Guyton and Ingestre Streets. The toilet will be open daily between 5.30am and 8.30pm.

 Town Centre Regeneration Committee Chair, Councillor Helen Craig, says the toilet was installed in response to feedback from retailers about visitors from out of town arriving in the block seeking toilet facilities.

 Mainstreet Whanganui General Manager, Des Warahi, says the new facility is an example of Whanganui District Council, the Town Centre Regeneration Committee and Mainstreet Whanganui “listening to the community and working together to improve our town centre”.

 Town Centre Regeneration Project Manager, Ellen Young, says, “It’s great to be able to provide practical facilities for locals and visitors and at the same time take the opportunity to add more eye-catching art to our town centre”.

 Ellen Young says the artwork on the exterior of the toilet facility, designed by local artist Cecelia Kumeroa, is constructed of laser cut metal panels and is lit with coloured LED bulbs at night.

 Cecelia Kumeroa says the plant featured in the artwork is the kūmarahou, which historically Northland gumdiggers lathered up and used as a soap substitute. She says the plant isn’t found in Whanganui but has been grown successfully by a local rongoā practitioner for its medicinal properties.

 The bird featured on the screen is the hihi or stitchbird.

 “When I visited Bushy Park recently with my grandson a few cheeky hihi birds followed us all the way to the famous rata tree – this is now a treasured memory and I dedicate the artwork to the hihi, one of New Zealand’s rarest birds,” Cecelia Kumeroa says.