Northland DHB has unveiled the upgraded entrance way for people coming into Tumanako, the inpatient mental health unit at Whangarei Hospital.
Local Māori artists Ana Jakeman and Lenny Murupaenga spent two weeks constructing and shaping the 46-metre-long mural which wraps around the walls of the entranceway.
“The mural is about the light. It is about the light that existed before time. It’s about the light that Io Matua Kore provides for us,” said Lenny.
“It is about the light that came to us when Ranginui and Papatūānuku were separated. It is about the light that is in each of us. This mural funnels all that light and passes it to anyone who comes through this whare.”
The mural covers the walls of one of two entranceways. The front entranceway is open with a reception and waiting room, while the side entranceway is used to bring in people who require urgent care.
The idea to redesign the entranceway came after receiving feedback from people who have been in the unit and shared that the area needed to be more welcoming.
Northland DHB Mental Health Service Manager Deborah Barrow was moved to tears when she saw the mural. While expressing her gratitude for the artwork created, Deborah reflected on how the art made people feel and the difference that would make to people on their healing journey.
“People requiring intensive care are already in tough situations. The last thing they need is to be brought into a space that is cold and void of the manaaki, and the aroha that this service is about,” said Deborah.
“What Ana and Lenny have given us, and given to anyone coming into our care, is the light and the hope that this space has been missing.”
Ana, who has experience with mental illness, described the rainbow colours as reflections of hope.
“We wanted to make the space beautiful and welcoming for all. It’s now a space for healing. This entrance is the beginning of that journey,” said Ana.
Local Māori artists Ana Jakeman and Lenny Murupaenga