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The moving story behind our most-loved mural

Mar 16, 2020  ·  2 min read

QT Wellington’s artsy reputation proceeds us. You already know that the hotel interior hosts one of New Zealand’s most eccentric private art collections. High and low-brow pieces are fused into a curated masterpiece inside but it also boasts external artwork that spills out onto the street.

Perched on the sparkling harbour and engulfed by ivy vines, QT Wellington’s exterior is a hint at the explosion of colour and texture within. It’s impossible to miss the bright orange mural, spanning the corner of the top two floors. You know the one…

'The Mover'

Ever wondered about the seemingly anonymous man in the red blazer? Fondly known as ‘The Mover’, he has a suitably moving story behind him.

Painted by Wellington artist Gabriel Heimler in 2010, the mural represents a rather spectacular feat of engineering and an important piece of the hotel’s story. QT Wellington’s rich history begins with an infamous tale of so-crazy-it-might-just-work innovation.

The hotel’s original building (then known as The Museum Art Hotel) was once located across the road. It was moved on rollers to make way for the Te Papa Museum in 1993. The then 3,000-tonne, four-storey building took a 120-metre journey across Cable Street. Audacious engineering saw the hotel riding a makeshift railway from harbour-side sinking ground and towards its new resting place.

The daring feat was a true spectacle to say the least, with thousands turning out to watch what was at the time, the largest ever building to be moved in New Zealand.

‘The Mover’ mural ensures the tale will live on in infamy. He humbly hides the extent of the exertion; only his dapper tie and pocket square blow askew, while he effortlessly pulls some strings to make the magic happen. QT Wellington’s mural and the story behind it will forever tug at our heartstrings…

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