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Starship Smiles All Round Thanks to New Murals

Children visiting Starship have something new to smile about. Singing glow worms, a giraffe with rocket boots, a time machine, a banana boat pulled by sea horses and many other delightful drawings now line the walls of Starship's Outpatients Department.

Completed in May, the three new murals were funded by Starship Foundation Five Star Sponsor Mercury Energy, and designed by a group of AUT University students to help distract the nearly 45,000 children that visit Starship's Outpatients Department every year.

Ideas for the murals were generated straight from the mouths of approximately 500 children and young people who were asked three questions - what makes them happy, what would they invent if they could invent anything and what would their perfect world look like?

These responses provided inspiration for areas of the Outpatients Department including the waiting area, measurement room, bi-valve room, consultation rooms and plaster rooms. The kids were able to respond via Mercury Energy's Facebook page, through email and by more traditional pen and paper methods.

General themes were then created, with animals and time machines featuring strongly. Draft designs needed to fit in with other Starship Children's Hospital murals, feature colours from the hospital palette and hospital staff provided valuable feedback.

The result? Starship patient Seline, age 13, says the artwork is "beautiful", while five-year-old Calais thought "the robot was cool" and Samson, age 12, said "It's very colourful; so much imagination has been put in. It's very creative work!"

Mercury Energy GM James Munro says, "We're so proud of the good energy of our customers, who have helped make this possible. With their generosity and support, together we raised a record of more than $1 million for Starship last year. Hopefully these murals will put a smile on the faces of kids at Starship".

As well as providing a colourful experience to children visiting Starship, the project enabled AUT University students to gain important commercial experience.

Alisha Brunton, one of the students working on the project, said working on the murals was an absolute highlight for her, knowing these designs were going to help children.

"It was a privilege to bring the kids' ideas to life, and to have the opportunity to use our skills in such a positive way. I hope this project will make the hospital a little less scary for all the kids who spend time there."

Starship Foundation Chief Executive, Brad Clark, says "Being in hospital can be an unsettling time for children, young people and their families. The new murals bring colour and fun to the walls and give patients something to daydream, a little distraction while waiting or being examined. We are so grateful to Five Star Sponsor Mercury Energy and their customers for funding this fantastic project and to the group of passionate AUT students for giving it life."

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