Mural at Goat Island Marine Reserve
Image: DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


The toilet and changing block servicing Te Hāwere-a-Maki / Goat Island and the surrounding marine reserve has been given a new lease of life with bright murals of taonga species painted on its sides.

Date:  22 December 2022

Artist Erin Forsyth spent over a week painting the mural onto the toilet and changing block, which is located at one of the country’s busiest marine reserves, managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Goat Island, the local name for Cape Rodney/Okakari Point Marine Reserve, near Leigh, was New Zealand's first marine reserve. It was established in 1975 and in less than 10 years became a rich ecological area, teeming with sea life. It attracts about 400,000 visitors per year and contributes over $18.6 million to the local economy.

The freshly painted mural features marine animals such as kekeno/NZ fur seals, kororā/little penguin, orca, and giant manta rays – all iconic species that can be seen in the Hauraki Gulf.

DOC Senior Ranger Stefan Sebregts says that the block was built in the mid 2000s and had been showing signs of aging.

“We recognised the need for this building to reflect the special status of this marine reserve and be as beautiful as the area surrounding it.

“Dulux’s support enabled this project to come to life. As one of DOC’s iconic sites, staff have been working hard to enhance the mana of the reserve and ensure the visitor experience matches the beauty of the natural environment,” says Stefan Sebregts.

The artist took inspiration from the sea to create the design and worked with Ngāti Manuhiri to select the taonga species represented in the mural. Erin is well-known for her beautiful illustrations of native New Zealand wildlife.

“It proved to be a challenge painting in the spring weather,” says Erin Forsyth. “As well as heavy rain and high winds, cordoning off a high use area was a challenge to work around, but I’m very pleased with how it turned out.”

This work was possible due to the long-standing partnership between Dulux and DOC.

Dulux provided $5,000 towards the project costs, which included artist fees and safety equipment, plus all the product to make Erin’s dream a reality. Best known for work painting and refurbishing backcountry huts, the partnership extends into urban areas too.

This is one of the many ways that businesses can contribute to make a difference for conservation.

Background information

DOC and Dulux

DOC and Dulux have had an official partnership since 2013. This partnership supports the restoration and maintenance of the vast visitor infrastructure that DOC manages, including backcountry huts.

As a result, hundreds of DOC huts and buildings and other community facilities have been protected and enhanced.

More about the partnership

Artist Erin Forsyth

Erin Forsyth is an artist and illustrator based in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland.

More about Erin Forsyth


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