Memorial mural switched for alternative
31 March 2015
KAWERAU District Council is developing a memorial to honour one of the town’s young residents after he lost his battle with cancer last year.
During a regulatory and services committee meeting on March 17 councillors declined a proposal for a painted mural at the Plunket Street skate park in memory of Charles Teraha Kayah.
Instead they agreed to work with the 12-year-old’s family to create another type of memorial.
Operations and services manager Tom McDowall said after a four-and-a-half year battle with cancer, Charles passed away in November 2014.
He was a keen scooter rider and family members approached the council to ask if they could paint a memorial mural at the skate park where Charles spent much of his time.
Initially, the mural would not cost the council but would create costs if it needed to be removed, or repaired due to graffiti or deterioration over time.
Mr McDowall said the significance of Charles’s memory in relation to the mural could reduce vandalism.
Kawerau Mayor Malcolm Campbell said his main concern with the mural proposal was the precedent it set for painted memorials in the town’s public spaces.
He said it was also at risk of being damaged or desecrated.
In place of a mural he suggested council representatives sit down with the young man’s family and come up with an alternative solution to commemorate his life.
Councillor Chris Marjoribanks expressed similar concerns.
He said a memorial in a community space meant it could be prone to tagging and damage.
Councillor Alistair Holmes said saying yes to a mural for Charles would make it hard to decline other similar requests in future.
Mr Campbell suggested an annual competition with an award in Charles’ memory could be an option.
Councillor Faylene Tunui suggested a scooter trophy could be awarded as part of the Youth Council’s annual skate jam event.
Committee chairwoman Carolyn Ion said the Kawerau Youth Council would be the best group to work with Charles’ family to develop a memorial solution.
“After all, they are the ones who knew Charles the best,” she said.
Source: Whakatane Beacon