Wellington Scoop

Cover-ups in Mt Cook and Cuba Street



On Saturday, this Wallace Street wall was covered in interesting messages, many of them in chalk. But today, the city council’s graffiti police had been back, and they’d messily covered up almost everything, including RIPs for Michael Jackson and Patrick Swayze.


Almost everything, except for the Ian Curtis memorial message which had been repainted since the council covered it up ten days ago.


The council staff are selective. They hadn’t tried to paint out this work, on a wall not far away.


But in Vivian Street, the council was following a reverse policy. It had pasted-up its posters on the front of a derelict shop. Not a good look for the people who say they’re fighting graffiti.


The busy message was adding to the clutter in Cuba Street.


In another part of the street, there’d been a bad choice. This was how the council’s message looked at 12.30.


An hour later the city’s posters were gone, the victims of a different kind of cover-up. This hadn’t been a cost-effective way of delivering the council message to ratepayers. Nor even a sensible one.


  1. the City is Ours, 21. September 2009, 22:13

    This is what looks like a Phantom job inside the famous Phantom Black Frames all over town and council has only booked to have them up for one/two week/s hence the material was covered with by the next paying customers.

    How do I know……………………………Sticky Fingers

  2. tim, 22. September 2009, 9:43

    Lindsay – I understand your annoyance with the mess all over town, but you are off the mark with the Wallace St graffiti. The memorial to Ian Curtis has been there for 28 years and is known internationally as the ‘Ian Curtis Wall’ – check it on wikipedia. It is not the ‘celebrity memorial wall’. The real problem of graffiti is tagging, which the wall never attracted – in part, i believe, because it was respected as a memorial. MJ RIP and Patrick RIP were done messily in white paint and were disrespectful to the legacy of the wall and Ian Curtis. What was to come next – Peter RIP, Mary RIP, Michael Laws RIP? It was getting out of hand and needed to be tidied up. As for the wall up the road – that was commissioned by the council and painted by art students – i think they were from Wellington High. It is a shame it has been tagged – research shows that art pieces such as these are usually left alone by taggers. Tagging is the problem, and both these walls are art

  3. James, 22. September 2009, 15:23

    Simply having a page on Wikipedia does not define art. The wall is now a mess once again with a patchwork of different colours. If there is overwhelming public demand to remember Mr Curtis a plaque or other conventional remembrance would be more fitting.

    As for the artwork up the road – that could do with being repainted and updated, just because it was once painted by some kids does not mean it should be kept forever.

  4. tim, 22. September 2009, 18:36

    I agree James – a wikipedia credit is certainly not a defining moment for art. But it does at least place the wall outside of the domain of general graffiti vandalism does it not? You’d be hard-pressed to find another piece of graffiti from New Zealand recognised in this way.

    (Unless you’re a wikipedia-snob. It’s an evolving medium for the most up to date information on literally everything and is censored by the whole of humankind – well those with computers anyway – it is rarely incorrect for longer than a few hours).

    I heard a chap in his 70s the other day say “I don’t know who Ian Curtis was but i thought it was nice – a memorial to someone. And unlike other graffiti, at least you could read it”.

    Now that the chalk has washed off i think it looks reasonably tidy and i hope it gets left alone now.

  5. Grafito, 29. November 2009, 16:39

    Thanks for the comments on my lovely poster pasting 🙂
    It was.. on purpose, fancy the council wanting posters up and at the same time telling us to keep our pasting tidy. So, I pasted them on some graffiti covered areas just to say ha! I had a shitload to put up as fast as I can… this is my only entertainment while pasting.

    Now its online..