Aunt Bea pictured on shop wall

Rotorua arts hero – Bea Yates.

The late Beatrice Yates was chosen as the Te Arawa subject of a large city shop painting in Rotorua.

The secret of a Te Arawa ‘hero’ revealed itself as artist Taumata Soloman rendered his work in acrylic recently.

Of Ngāi Tūhoe descent, Taumata, an arts teacher, was commissioned to paint the ‘Te Toki Te Arawa Hero Mural’ as part of this month’s Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival in Rotorua.

The works depict Bea Yates as Rotorua folk remember her – with a wide, beaming smile.

Taumata says he used a photograph of Bea to create his impressive image which is rendered to a building in Hinemoa Street.

Taumata says he’s honoured to have been asked to contribute to the festival.

“I was stoked to do this and more than happy to provide my p ū kenga (skills),” he says.

“The person I’m painting means a lot to me, and I believe I can bring the true beauty of this person to life through colour.”

Beatrice Yates, affectionately known to all as Aunt Bea, was an educator and entertainer who died last year. In 2016, Bea was elected to the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust.

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