Spate of 'bearable art' in New Plymouth
Teddy bears are turning up all over New Plymouth in a spate of "bearable art" graffiti attacks that have city residents baffled.
In the past seven days, cute and cuddly bears have appeared overnight at Puke Ariki, Huatoki Plaza, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and the New Plymouth District Council offices.
Despite knowing it would be no picnic, the Taranaki Daily News launched an investigation into strange but heart-warming activity and quickly found two women who had witnessed a "bear bombing" event near the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery.
"We had been trying to find out who it was before this and we were working here late one night and saw her tying bears to the trees outside," Kirsten Peterson said.
"She just said she was doing it to make people smile. She said she was going to keep going until Christmas. She said: all I am going to tell you is that it is bearable art," Hannah Whiteman said.
The teddy artist was thought to be in her 40s, drove a large van and had not been happy about being discovered, Ms Whiteman said.
New Plymouth is thought to be the first city in the world to experience "bearable art", though it is not the first time art has been brought to the streets by people who would prefer remain anonymous.
In May, Mikaere Gardiner was outed as the man behind Eno, the artist responsible for dozens of pictures pasted up around the city.
He has since gone on to some renown and the works he once gave away for free now attract a healthy price tag.
Knitted jumpers and scarves have also appeared on parking meters, street signs and other city implements from time to time in woolly attacks known as Guerrilla Knitting.
Regardless of its benefits, all such "art" is the modification of public property without permission and therefore classified as vandalism by the New Plymouth District Council.
Its policy is to remove graffiti within 24 hours of being notified.