Auckland Council is encouraging graffiti artists to create murals in their local communities in an effort to combat vandalism.
Since the council’s implementation of the graffiti vandalism prevention plan in July 2012, graffiti incidents in the city are down 22 per cent.
The Auckland Council’s manager of community contracts, Brian Taylor, said the aim of the plan is to create safer communities and increase local natural appeal.
“When vandalism exists in a community it gives the sense that it’s an unsafe area, so removing it gives that perception of safety and creates more community awareness,” Mr Taylor said.
According to Mr Taylor, the council is a big supporter of graffiti art and is encouraging people to create murals, using a council approved mural tool-kit, in an effort to beautify their community.
“The biggest difference between graffiti art and vandalism is permission,” Mr Taylor said.
“We really do encourage anyone who has that artistic talent, if they are going around and just tagging, to stop that and get into more legitimate forms.”
Professional mural and graffiti artist Jonny 4higher has conducted graffiti art workshops in schools and youth detention centres around New Zealand in an effort to keep youths on the right track.
“I’ve seen lots of people that I’ve taught come up and become artists or just be inspired to keep their lives heading in a positive direction,” Mr 4higher said.
“It’s important to teach kids that they can still have that creative outlet without doing something that is illegal.”
Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Graffiti Free Week was held nationwide from March 14-20 in an effort to eradicate graffiti in New Zealand.
Project manager for Keep New Zealand Beautiful, Joanne Powell, said the campaign was important for the development of community pride.
“It’s a nationwide behavioural change campaign and that’s about empowering community to take ownership and instil community pride in their area through the eradication of graffiti,” Mrs Powell said.