5 Apr 2024

Christchurch’s newest outdoor art gallery is helping breathe life into the former Avonside Girls’ site.

The new A-MAZE-INK art trail is being developed by the Climate Action Campus with assistance from the Christchurch City Council graffiti team.

What is the Climate Action Campus?

The Climate Action Campus is a hive of activity with more than 1,000 students and not-for-profits working at the campus every week.

It offers a place to learn about climate change, engage with others from diverse backgrounds, expertise, and ages, and to develop and initiate climate change ideas and actions. 

Tunnel houses, bee hives, a chicken farm, a bush kindy, butterfly and skink habitats and vegetable gardens are just a few of the projects at the campus. 

"We feel incredibly privileged to be able to come to work each day and be greeted by beautiful art from so many diverse artists, enhancing our space,” Campus Learning Advisor Rachel Cummins said.

82-year-old Reng Yu Chen – who goes by Mr Chen - is the oldest artist who responded to the call out.

His pink and blue mural featuring lotus and swans is the first thing you see when you step foot into the grounds from Avonside Drive, taking up the back wall of an old classroom.

“I wanted to paint beautiful life, flowers, and swans. The lotus is a sign of beauty and kindness in Asian culture,” Mr Chen explained through a translator.

“I love Christchurch. I love the life here, the people here, the city, the water, the air, the sunshine, and the climate.”

From 82 to 17-years-old, Amelia Green is one of the youngest artists featured in the series. Her lifelike renditions of native New Zealand birds cover an otherwise bland toilet block.

Amelia Green with her toilet block mural at the Climate Campus.

“I’m on a gap year thinking about what I want to do for a career, and I thought how can I put myself out there as an artists. I’m not the type of person who can just sit around,” Amelia said.

“I was inspired by nature, it’s an important part of New Zealand culture. I had a lady walk past recently and she got emotional because the tui reminded her of her mum who had passed away. That was special.”

Council Graffiti Coordinator Mel Hillier supported the Campus.

“The MAZE is showcasing the art community by valuing the voices of artists of every age and encouraging creativity with another opportunity to celebrate art in our city,” she said.

“Giant wall murals of beauty painted by artists of every genre with their varied perceptions of treasuring and protecting the climate are everywhere.”