The mural in Huntly celebrates local rugby league heroes Wairangi Koopu, Tawera Nikau and Lance Hohaia.
Huntly rugby league legends have been recognised by featuring in a large mural as part of the lead up to the Rugby League World Cup.Tawera Nikau, Lance Hohaia and Wairangi Koopu are featured in the Huntly heroes piece on Shand Pl, next to The Topp Twins artwork. The mural also includes the three teams playing in the two matches at Waikato Stadium; Samoa vs Tonga on November 4 and New Zealand vs Tonga on November 11.
Wairangi Koopu, Tawera Nikau, mural artist Bobby MacDonald and Lance Hohaia's father Rex Hohaia.
They are the first ever rugby league international games to be played in Hamilton. Nikau and Koopu attended the unveiling of the artwork and while Lance now lives overseas, his father Rex Hohaia went along. Nikau thought it was great to celebrate successful locals. "It does give some inspiration to some young rangatahi in the town showing that if you work hard and are determined you can get to where you want to be.
"It was also celebrating the sport itself and the fact the world cup would be held in New Zealand this year as many kiwis don't get the chance to watch it in person, he said. While Nikau is proud of the mural, he hoped further discussions with the Huntly Community Board would see other NZ Kiwi players from Huntly up there."
There's probably around 12 to 15 legends from Huntly. "Auckland visual artist Bobby MacDonald said it was the first mural he had done on this scale. He spent three days completing the piece and being a big league fan, he was star struck. Being a perfectionist he said there were some things he wanted to do better but overall, he was happy with it. And he hoped to make the additions by painting on more local league stars. Both the Waikato District Council and Hamilton City Council helped fund the mural.
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