© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Calls for more street art to curb graffiti

Lucy Bendell
graffiti near High St
Graffiti Spray cans in Central City   Lucy Bendell

The Christchurch City Council spends $700,000 a year to clean up graffiti.

The graffiti clean-up is concentrated in the central city, where the number of reported graffiti is on the rise. June had about 600 reports compared to May, which had 400 reports.

Moorhouse Ave, Armagh St and Montreal St are the hot spots. The three most reported tags are 'Detor', 'Gomz', and 'Plotz', with over 700 of the reports on contract building sites and utility boxes.

Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board chairperson Alexandra Davids said the many empty walls around the central city were inviting for graffiti artists. 

She believed commissioning more murals around the city would result in less graffiti, as it created less space for taggers.

Mural on plain wall in Central City on Madras Street Lucy Bendell

Street Artist Jabob Root, 20, has been creating murals around Christchurch for three years.

He uses his art as his storyteller, with a lot of inner meaning to displays emotion, feeling or issues.

Root said a lot of the time graffiti was done by artists and not often taggers.

"As long as the graffiti taggers don't go over murals, they're fine," he said.

Graffiti over mural
Graffiti over mural on Saint Asaph Street. Lucy Bendell

 "Art spruces up the city and can turn a blank boring wall into something amazing", Root said.

Jacob Root painting a mural on Madras Street, Christchurch Central City.

He agreed with Davids that the city council could commission more artists.

A city council spokesperson said having artwork around the central city may act as a deterrent for unwanted graffiti, but "if we put too much artwork everywhere in the CBD it may lose its effectiveness as a graffiti deterrent."