Queenstown’s mural with a message


It’s a trout, Queenstown, but not as you know it.

The resort’s first mural – dubbed Drainbow Trout – has put a unique spin on the increased amount of pollution and littering in the area.

Artist Tess Sheerin says she’s aiming to raise awareness about the damaging effects on marine life by painting five large street murals around New Zealand, including in Dunedin.

Drainbow Trout is the first in the series.

Sheerin says her trout was depicted with a drain for a stomach, hence the name.

“We need to think carefully about what we are putting down our drains, because its knock-on effects on wildlife can be devastating.”

The painting is opposite the Novotel Queenstown Lakeside Hotel, in Earl St.

Sheerin says it had been a bit of a “sea performance” for the people staying at the hotel.

“They have seen the progress from day one and we are now at day nine.

“A lot of people are not quite sure what is happening with the fish and come ask me about it and I tell them.”

It took six months for the project to be organised and consented.

“I think it took so long because it’s the first large mural the resort’s had and I think people were a bit suspicious because it’s a new thing.”

The former Cantabrian moved to Queenstown at the beginning of the year and became an artist in residence at the Queenstown Art Centre.

Sheerin says it was not until she moved south six months ago that she realised how bad pollution was in Queenstown.

“It’s quite a juxtaposition of this amazing scenery with mountains, beautiful lakes and then litter all over the show.”

Her focus for the pollution series was on marine life.

”[The] majority of rubbish on the coastlines is getting swept out to sea and the plastics can’t break down. Basically, all the sea-life are eating it and we are eating the fish, so it’s like a knock-on effect.”

Volunteers from Wanaka and Queenstown worked with Sheerin to help finish the project. She hoped to finish the painting today and head to Dunedin in early December.

The last mural in the series will be painted in Auckland in March.