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Melisa Nocelli's award-winning mural teaches us that wildlife matters

13 Dec 2023

Artist Melisa Nocelli has unveiled her award-winning mural titled ‘New Zealand: Where Wildlife Matters’ in Queenstown, Central Otago. 

Melisa was one of ten winners from across the country who took out the top prize in this year’s Keep New Zealand Beautiful and Resene Nature Mural Competition.

The mural, painted inside the Country Lane Retail Village in Frankton, is designed to help raise awareness of New Zealand’s unique biodiversity and the challenges facing it.

“New Zealand is well known for having a vast unique species of flora and fauna and it is essential to preserve and protect them for generations to come,” says Melisa. “Since humans have inhabited New Zealand, there has been the loss of many native plant and animal species.”

"This mural is deeply meaningful to me as it represents my year and a half journey in this country,” says Ms Nocelli. “The captivating local flora and fauna stole my heart from day one, inspiring me to pay tribute to them through this mural and also emphasising the significance of wildlife conservation and its influence on our ecosystem.”

A render of Melisa’s mural, which she painted in Resene Roadster, Resene Turbo, Resene Kaitoke Green, Resene Now Or Never and Resene Wild Side.

The Resene Nature Mural Competition, which is part of the Paint New Zealand Beautiful programme, runs from April to June each year. For the latest competition, community members were called on to submit environmentally themed mural designs to paint on a wall in their local community. Artists from around the country sent in their designs, with the top ten murals selected in June based on their environmental message, enhancement of the community, originality and creativity.

Winning artists receive a $1,000 commission once the mural is completed, along with a $750 Resene paint voucher and other materials to bring their designs to life.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO Heather Saunderson says: “Our Resene Nature Mural Competition provides a great opportunity for artists to beautify their local communities. The beautification of public spaces greatly benefits communities by increasing civic pride, deterring vandalism and reducing anti-social behaviour such as littering and graffiti.”

“We were impressed with the dozens of high-calibre entries we received, so much so that narrowing the selection to just ten winners was a tough task! Natasha’s mural is one of the first of this year’s murals to be fully completed, and we’re thrilled to see the result.” 

Since its inception in 2017, there have been 57 Nature Murals commissioned as a result of the programme. 

Melisa’s mural is located inside the Country Lane Retail Village in Frankton. 

View a map of all Keep New Zealand Beautiful and Resene Nature Murals here.

Published: 13 Dec 2023