Chorus box overhaul complete

3 minutes read
Posted 9 February, 2024
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The first phase of beautifying some of the region’s Chorus telecommunication cabinets is now complete, with plans already underway for more to be painted this year. The Arrowtown Business and Promotion Association joined forces with Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) and Chorus to take on design submissions from local artists back in August of last year. It was encouraged that the artwork reflect our local community.

The painting work has now been completed in the Arrowtown region at Adamson Drive with Lucky Mantis by Melisa Nocelli, in Arrowtown with The Sound of the Tui by Emma Peers and at Lake Hayes / Arrow Junction with Aotearoa – Land of the long white cloud by Krista Perryman. Arrowtown had 18 art submissions for the three boxes in their area, all of which were beautiful, making it hard for the judges to pick. Selecting local artists and work that was keeping with the appearance of the area was important

Nicky Busst, manager of Arrowtown Business and Promotion Association, was blown away by the art that was submitted. “We’re very lucky to have so much opportunity and talent, and people submitting.” She spearheaded the project, which all started when she was trying to find out who looked after the phone booths in Arrowtown as they needed some repairs.

“On my little journey of discovery, I came across this delightful lady named Jo Seddon, who’s the community relations manager,” Busst says. “Her main role is actually the Cabinet Art Programme, which she does nationwide – I just love it, I think it’s such an awesome project. While I was talking to her, she was like ‘Oh Nicky, I would love to get this project into Arrowtown and Queenstown. We do it in Central Otago and I feel it’s so fitting'.”

After speaking with Seddon, Busst had a conversation with Jan Maxwell, Relationship Manager Arts and Events at QLDC, and the pair then got the ball rolling. It quickly turned into a district-wide initiative – in addition to Arrowtown, they were able to add some more boxes in Queenstown for painting before they started accepting art submissions.

“I met with Jan and I chose the Arrowtown artists along with her, and we got them painted through November / December. The first one that was done was the praying mantis up by Adamson Drive and then the other two were done. They just look amazing – I’ve actually seen the ones in Remarkables Park as well, and it’s just transformed what would become quite a target for vandalism, which unfortunately is a growing trend now even in our district. It celebrating the budding artists as well.”

Busst points out that another reason for the project is to continue to maintain and beautify the town, which has won the Most Beautiful Small Town award at the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Awards. After the success of the first round, they’re going to continue to roll this out over the next 24 months, adding more cabinets in our district. With 11,000 telecommunication cabinets across New Zealand, it’s a great opportunity to showcase artists and create a beautiful piece of art on something that may otherwise just be ignored.

“It’s a complete synergy with Arrowtown that we see ourselves as the most beautiful small town – not just visually, but beautiful because of the people that live here in our community, right through to the artists and everyone who works here. Everyone’s very supportive of our community and I think this is just another extension. It made sense for our district to celebrate that and continue to celebrate the growth and awareness of artists in Arrowtown,” Busst says.

You can view the beautiful boxes in person at Adamson Drive, in Arrowtown, or at Lake Hayes/Arrow Junction. You can also stay up-to-date with the projects that Chorus are bringing to life, and stay on top of the initiative within our region at – submissions for this year have now closed, but you can check in around mid-June for an announcement of new boxes to be painted.


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