Untitled [Beehive Mural]


John Drawbridge



  • Mural
  • Wall Mounted Sculpture


  • Enamel paint
  • Aluminium


  • 4.8metres high and circumnavigates the circular inner core of the Beehive building

John Drawbridge, Untitled [Beehive Mural] (1975), New Zealand Parliament Pāremata Aotearoa, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington

Image courtesy of Parliamentary Service.


This "mural at Parliament is known as both the Drawbridge Mural and the Beehive Mural and is one of his most spectacular public artworks. It is three-dimensional, 4.8 metres high, and circumnavigates the circular inner core of the Beehive building, running the entire length of the Banquet Hall. It is well-integrated with the architecture of the building, and brings colour to the space while creating an atmosphere of the New Zealand landscape.

The artwork was commissioned in 1973, when eight nationally known artists were invited to take part in a 'competition' to design a mural for the Banquet Hall of the Executive Wing, which was new at that time. The commission was awarded to Drawbridge. He then worked on it for several years, and spent over 3,800 hours developing the 16 panels. It was installed between December 1975 and May 1976.

The mural is in high-gloss enamel house paint, on L-shaped aluminium extrusion strips. It is finished with a flat varnish, selected by Drawbridge to give a depth of colour. He described it as a “concertina of spines” – as it provides a double image as you walk past, with changing perspectives and colour, as you walk in either direction.”