Te Arawa's 'Aunty Bea' memorialised through stunning mural

updated By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes
Artist Taumata Soloman with his tribute to Aunty Bea.  Photo/Supplied.

An intimate ceremony to unveil a large wall mural of the late Aunty Bea was held in Rotorua on Sunday with her whānau. Beatrice Yates (nee Grant) passed away last year and a mural has been created in her honour by Ngāi Tūhoe artist Taumata Soloman.

The mural entitled 'Te Toki o Te Arawa Hero Mural' was created as part of the inaugural Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival.

Soloman, who heads Rotorua Lakes High School’s Māori department, says he is humbled Aunty Bea’s whānau is happy to see her memory brightening Rotorua’s inner city.

“It reflects who Aunty Bea is and captures the essence of her wairua ātaahua (majestic life). I want people to see her radiant smile and interpret the woman she was to Rotorua."


“Aunty Bea was a very special person to me. She believed in sharing the arts through various mediums, such as literature and music. She touched my heart and I’m privileged to gift my talent to remembering the wonderful mentor and champion she was to the arts.”

Soloman says he would love to see the Te Toki o Te Arawa Hero Mural concept continue as part of the festival so the city can celebrate local people who champion the arts.


Soloman says it has been a year since Aunty Bea passed away and he hopes his work is a tribute to her family and the memory she leaves with Rotorua.

“E mihi ana ki te whānau a Aunty Bea kātahi ka hura i tōna kōhatu, i maumahara i a ia mō ngā mahi nui i oti i a ia, i a ia i te mata o te whenua. Hopefully, this piece helps to keep her memory alive. E kore rawa e wareware.”