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Ending on a high note

They had a good run but Carterton’s two colourful pianos, which have given High St a visual and aural lift for the past two years, have been decommissioned.

It turns out a combination of weather, moisture exposure, and vandalism played the key parts in their demise.

Community organisation Go Carterton coordinator Lou Newman said that while it is sad to see the pianos go, a two-year residency is probably about as good as it gets for such public instruments.

“It was always to be expected, they didn’t have a forever lifespan,” Newman said.

“The weather deteriorated them. Being out in the moisture they were always going to be out of tune, the keys were being pulled off, and the wood was broken.”

Newman said the idea for the public pianos formed after discussing how to add “linger nodes” – places where people would stop for an extra moment – on High St.

The pianos were initially given by community donors and painted by students at Carterton School and South End School.

“The amount of joy they brought in two years is more important than what happened to them in the end,” Newman said.

“The kids from these schools loved seeing the pianos on High St that they helped create – they gave the kids some ownership of spaces in town.”

The pianos were both broken down and separated into metal and wood with some components being recycled.

Newman said the Go Carterton team wants to hear from the community about what could bring the same kind of appeal to High St.

“Is it more pianos or is there a better idea? What else could we put there that would make you stop and bring you a moment of joy?”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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