"Welcome to Towel-Wronger" art piece sold to Tauranga Airport

updated By Kereama Wright
Mr G with the art piece sold to Tauranga Airport - Photo / Supplied

Visitors to Tauranga Airport will soon be greeted with the provocative "Welcome to Towel-Wronger" art piece made by local artist, Mr G.

The Mōtītī descendant, Graeme Hoete, announced the sale via his Instagram account stating the piece had been purchased by Tauranga Airport.

"I put it out on my social media. And just for any serious inquiries. I guess for me it just seemed appropriate and fitting to have it here in Tauranga Moana," Mr G says.

The “Towel-Wronger” piece became popular on social media in the past few months for its emphasis on the correct pronunciation of Māori place names.

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Mr G grew up in Kawerau and Tauranga and said throughout his life he would often hear people mispronouncing place names.

While some people criticised his work, he said 99% of the feedback has been positive. 

"I believe they have a genuine desire to want to pronounce it correctly."

Mr G said while he had offers from collectors outside the region, he insisted it stayed in Tauranga.

Manager of Tauranga Airport, Ray Dumble said this art piece was one of a range of art pieces by local artists purchased by the airport.

Mr G told Te Ao that he has created another art piece, a sign with the words "Our-taya-rower" crossed out with Aotearoa in bold underneath.

"I'd love it to go to someone that can really push that message again. Same message. And specifically the Auckland international airport," he says. 

Mr G says the auction for this piece will take place next week on TradeMe with a reserve of $50,000.