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Council takes a creative approach to Graffiti Vandalism

July 8th, 2010
[TDC press release]

A creative youth-led approach could help to stamp out graffiti vandalism in Richmond and Motueka.

The 'Pride of Place - Tasman Graffiti Vandalism Prevention Project' has had a productive first year, creating a plan on how to tackle Graffiti Vandalism (GV). Since receiving funding through the Ministry of Justice Crime Prevention Unit to support the two-year project, the steering group has continued to further educate themselves on what the best practice principles are in 'what works' with addressing GV.

The steering group consists of representatives from Tasman District Council, Richmond Unlimited, Richmond Police, Motueka Police, Health Action Trust, Get Safe Motueka, St Vincent de Paul and Richmond Anglican Church.

Actions have included commissioning a Richmond/Motueka youth consultation exercise to assist in determining why young people damage property, what young people forsee as solutions to addressing GV and what the best way is to communicate and develop key campaign messages.

Consultation findings showed that young people felt vandalism was mainly carried out because of boredom. They saw graffiti as an important part of their culture, as a valid form of self-expression. Young people also felt that youth artwork placed in areas with high amounts of graffiti vandalism could help to combat the issue. They felt strongly that young people should be involved in doing and designing the work at all stages, working alongside experienced artists - a proven youth participation model consistent with the Youth Development Strategy Aotearoa.

The GV project also placed HYPE-GS youth workers out in the Richmond and Motueka communities on Friday and Saturday evenings over the busy summer period via the Tasman Street Ambassador Service. Along with promoting community cohesion and ensuring young people are partying safely, HYPE-GS staff were able to make young people more aware of the impact graffiti has on the community and encourage them to take ownership and 'pride' in their place.

The second and final year of the project will focus on the production of youth murals, which will be displayed in graffiti 'hotspots' around the Richmond and Motueka communities. Young people will also produce a video documentary which will communicate via a series of short skits, the impact GV has on our community.

The steering group is now on the lookout for an artist to deliver the community mural workshops they're planning on running. If you, or someone you know, has the skills in creating community murals, please contact Tasman District Council's community recreation officer Paul McConachie on phone 03 543 8525.

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