Artist: Shane Walker
Shane was asked to paint a replacement for the original George Vesey Stewart (GVS) mural due to its wear and tear. In Shanes interpretation of the mural he has added the map to shop the distance that George travelled.
Steven Graveson (left) President of Katikati Open-Air Art and Shane Walker (right) artist.
This is a repaint of the original mural of George Vesey Stewart by Fee Simon in 1996. Shane interpretation has a bit more historical information in it to help tell George’s story.
GVS was the founder of Katikati, he first visited New Zealand and after visiting Katikati decided it was the ideal spot to establish a settlement. He brought out the first party of 238 settlers in 1875 aboard the ship Carisbrook Castle, depicted in the mural, this followed three years later by a second party of 378 immigrants aboard the Lady Jocelyn. GVS was above all a business man, he at one time was the proprietor of the Bay of Plenty Times, the first Mayor of Tauranga and held many other public positions in both Katikati and Tauranga. The medal on his chest is the OBE awarded to GVS in 1918.
As well as Katikati, GVS also established Te Puke in the Western Bay of Plenty, he enthusiastically advocated for a railway from Tauranga to Rotorua which was never built.
GVS built his first home in Katikati, Mount Stewart depicted in the mural was located on the northern side of Ongare Point, but moved to Martray, a house at Kauri Point was built for his aged parents who were members of the second party.
GVS became a patriarchal figure in Katikati in his later years. He died on March 3, 1920 of bronchitis aged 87. He is buried at the Katikati cemetery. In the mural he is portrayed leaving his home to go to one of his numerous meetings he attended. The ‘epergne’, an elaborate silver table centerpiece visible behind his left shoulder, was a gift from friends and tenants when he left Northern Ireland in 1875.