Art for a cause – new ‘bright and bold’ mural to take over Christchurch’s CBD

A 12-metre-wide art installation is taking shape in the heart of Christchurch, with the artist behind it donating her time towards a worthy cause.

Local illustrator Kyla K has teamed up with Rānui House to create a “bright and bold” mural that will give runners at this year’s Frontrunner Christchurch Marathon an energy boost as they make their way to the finish line.

The mural adorns the fence around Rānui House, which is owned and managed by the Bone Marrow Cancer Trust. The Trust is the official charity partner for this year’s Frontrunner Christchurch Marathon. Runners at the event are being encouraged to not just run past Rānui House but to “Run for Rānui House”, a 26-apartment complex that provides a home away from home for patients and their families who travel to Christchurch hospitals for life-saving medical treatment.

“For me, this is a really special project. I love bringing joy to the world, and so when I spoke to the team at Rānui House about the mural I knew instantly it was something I wanted to be part of,” Kyla says.

To create the mural, Kyla called upon the talent of Distranged Design street artist Jacob Root and Paul Walters from Identity Signs.

“I figured I might need some help, and Jacob and Paul didn’t hesitate to say yes. They have talent in spades, so I’m really excited to be working in with them on this piece.”

Located on the corner of Cashel Street and Cambridge Terrace the mural will feature the phrase “Run your Style” and depicts a range of characters running in unique ways. The colourful background is designed to stop passers-by in their tracks.

“I wanted to draw a lot of different characters, most of them inspired by real-life people, to represent how we are all built differently as humans.

“For example, I’ve drawn a character who is skipping with butterfly wings on, that’s because when I was in high school I used to skip my way through cross-country. I wanted to show that it doesn’t matter how you run – it’s the fact that you’re doing it that’s worth celebrating.”

Greymouth two-time leukemia survivor Josh Komen is also depicted in the mural – he and his family spent 474 nights at Rānui House while receiving treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, a type of cancer of the blood.

“Reading about Josh and his story, I thought what an amazing, inspiring human he is, so it was really important to me that he was part of this creation.”

Komen, who is taking part in the “Run for Rānui House” fundraiser, says when he saw the designs for the mural he couldn’t take the smile off his face.

“It’s just going to bring so much joy to people. I love the design and the bright colours. To me, it radiates hope,” Komen says.

Komen says he’s expecting be “hurting” as he makes his way to the finish line – the side-effects from his treatment are still lingering, making training difficult.

“I know the mural will provide me with the inspiration I need to dig deep. I know it’s just going to pop out and give me that last push.”

Bone Marrow Cancer Trust Chief Executive Mandy Kennedy says she owes a debt of gratitude to Kyla for her generosity.

“This beautiful mural is more than just paint on walls – it’s a symbol of the collective commitment of our community to making a positive difference. We are so grateful to Kyla for bringing her exceptional talent to our cause. It really will bring so much joy to the families staying with us, the runners on marathon day, and of course the community of Ōtautahi and visitors to our beauitful city.”

Mandy says Resene also deserves a huge pat on the back for donating the materials Kyla required.

“This is another example of how the team at Resene continue to support Rānui House and the wonderful families we serve, and for their support we are so very grateful,” Kennedy says.

The creation of the mural is currently underway, with the timing of its completion dependent on weather over the coming days.

So far more than $26,000 has been raised through the Run for Rānui House thanks to 48 generous individuals who have pledged their support for the fundraising mission. You can sponsor them here.

And, if you’re planning on racing – why not Run for Rānui House? Sign up to Run for Rānui.