Guy Ngan: Data General, 1984

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Data General
Medium: Stainless Steel with reflective adhesive
Dimensions: Unknown
Date: 1984
Original location: Data General entrance lobby, 76 Boulcott St (off Plimmer Steps), CBD, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington
Architect: Unknown
Current location: Lost
Heritage status: None known.


Ngan’s Data General mural extended along the corridors of a commercial building in central Wellington. Somewhat optically challenging as an artwork, rectangles of 3M reflective adhesive dance up and down the walls, punctuated by stainless steel strips. Horizontal and vertical lines collide, enhanced by fluorescent lighting strips on a reflective ceiling. Ngan’s idea was to bring in some light to an otherwise dark entrance way.

Ngan would later experiment with reflective surfaces in his mural for the National Bank in Hamilton.

Guy Ngan: Wainuiomata Shopping Mall, 1972

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Untitled
Medium: Acrylic
Dimensions: 1.3m³ (4ft cube)
Date: 1972
Original location: Wainuiomata Shopping Mall, 18 The Strand, Wainuiomata, Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt
Architect: Stephenson & Turner
Current location: Missing
Heritage status: None known


Having already mastered a range of paint, wood, concrete, and metal media, Guy Ngan elected, in the early 1970s, to turn his artistic hand to a new material: plastic. Wainuomata Shopping Mall became the home of his only known public sculpture in acrylic. 

In 1972, a designscape article recorded Ngan as considering himself to be ‘Playing around with plastics’, stating that he was not completely satisfied with the results.

Little is known about this work, or its fate. Please contact us if you have any information.

Guy Ngan: National Bank Hamilton, 1985

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: National Bank Hamilton
Medium: TBC (possibly red paint with white reflective material)
Dimensions: TBC
Date: 1985
Original location: National Bank Branch, Ground Floor, 527-529 Victoria St, CBD, Kirikiriroa Hamilton
Architect: TBC
Current location: Unknown
Heritage status: TBC


The site is now an ANZ bank branch.

Very little is known about this work, or its fate. Please contact us if you have any information.

Guy Ngan: BNZ Onehunga East, 1977

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Untitled
Medium: Paint on wood
Dimensions: 27.43m x 1.22m (90ft x 4ft)
Date: 1977
Original location: Bank of New Zealand, Onehunga East Branch, 146 Neilson St (cnr of Victoria), Onehunga, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
Architect: Ron Sang
Current location: Missing
Heritage status: No known protection


This striking frieze spanned two large walls in the Bank of New Zealand’s Onehunga East branch, opened in 1977. Designed by Ron Sang, a December 1977 article in the BNZ’s Staff News magazine describes the décor of the space as featuring “a specially commissioned bright green carpet, brown and orange furniture and fittings and strong orange enamelled ducting of the air-conditioning system”. Ngan’s mural, painted on wooden panels, was likely to have been in keeping with this vibrant colour scheme.

Alongside Ngan’s mural, a number of other artworks were featured as part of the branch fitout including “two colourful smaller murals woven of wool, one by Guy Ngan’s wife, Jean, and the other by Wellington weaver, Jenny Hunt, of Days Bay”, and two pots by Doreen Blumhardt.

We haven’t been able to pin down what happened to Guy Ngan’s frieze for the BNZ Onehunga East branch. Please contact us if you have any information.

Thanks to BNZ heritage for their assistance with this research.

Guy Ngan: BNZ Queen St, 1973

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Untitled
Medium: Woodcarving: Kahikatea; Mural: TBC
Dimensions: TBC
Date: 1973
Original location: Bank of New Zealand, Queen St Branch, Cnr Queen & Victoria Sts, CBD, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
Architect: TBC
Current location: Missing
Heritage status: No known protection


Guy Ngan created both a kahikatea carving and mural for a temporary BNZ branch on Queen St, which had been set up while the main branch was undergoing alterations. The carving was inspired by the Auckland landscape with its volcanic cones and craters. The mural consisted of at least four panels and was installed directly opposite the woodcarving.

We haven’t been able to pin down what happened to Guy Ngan’s kahikatea carving and mural for the BNZ Queen St branch. Please contact us if you have any information.

Thanks to BNZ heritage for their assistance with this research.

Guy Ngan: Automobile Association House, 1971

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Unknown
Medium: Aluminium relief with integrated lighting system
Dimensions: Approx. 14.63m (48ft) in length and 46.45m² (500ft²) in area. Exact dimensions unknown
Date: 1971
Original location: Automobile Association House, 164-166 Willis St, Te Aro, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington
Architect: TBC
Current location: Unknown
Heritage status: TBC


Cast locally by T & E Foundries, Ngan’s wall sculpture for Automobile Association House was 48ft (14.63m) long, weighed around 1000lbs (453.6kg), and was backlit at night by concealed lighting. The connected circles symbolised mechanised wheels, while the linear patterns portrayed a roading system. One passerby commented, “I don’t like modern art but that looks like bits of car parts.”

In April 2000 Ngan noted that the work had been “mutilated”, possibly as it had been cut down to accommodate a verandah which had been added to the facade of the building.

The current whereabouts of this work is unknown.

Guy Ngan: National Bank Thames, 1969

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Unknown
Medium: Wood and metal
Dimensions: Approx. 4870mm (16 ft) in length. Exact dimensions unknown
Date: 1969
Original location: National Bank Thames Branch, 601 Pollen St, Pārāwai Thames
Architect: TBC
Current location: Unknown
Heritage status: TBC


Originally installed in the Thames branch of the National Bank, a news article in the Thames & Peninsula Gazette on 24 August 1976 states that the mural was relocated to Morrinsville. A photograph of the Morrinsville National Bank branch in 1988 confirms this. A maquette of the mural gives a good sense of the overall design, suggesting the work consisted of two panels.

We haven’t been able to pin down what has happened to this work. Please contact us if you have any information.

Guy Ngan: ANZ The Terrace Branch, 1962

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Untitled
Medium: Unknown
Dimensions: Unknown
Date: 1962
Original location: Rear wall, banking chamber, ANZ branch, Shell House, 96 The Terrace, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington CBD.
Architect: Stephenson & Turner
Current location: Unknown.
Heritage status: n/a


This mural was Ngan’s first job with the architectural firm Stephenson & Turner.

Guy Ngan: Dunedin Dental School Lecture Hall, 1957

Artist: Guy Ngan
Title: Untitled
Medium: Two murals, both ceramic tile and concrete
Dimensions: Approx 800 sq. ft. / 74 m²
Date: 1957
Original location: Lecture Hall exterior, Dunedin Dental School, University of Otago, 35 Frederick St, Dunedin Ōtepoti
Architect: Gordon Wilson, Government Architect, Ministry of Works
Current location: In situ
Heritage status: TBC


Ngan’s murals for the Dunedin Dental School Lecture Hall exterior were completed the same year as the Engineering School Lecture Hall exterior at Canterbury University in nearby Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Two murals were completed: one at each end of the building. Both still exist.

They are said to have been made with recycled broken tiles.

Ceramic tile mural, Cable Price Downer House, Wellington, photograph: John J. Gray, 1964. Courtesy Orchiston Architects Ltd.

E. Mervyn Taylor, Cable Price Downer House, 1964

Artist: E. Mervyn Taylor
Title: Industry
Medium: Ceramic tiles
Dimensions: Approx. H3005 x W3005m
Date: 1964
Original location: Cable Price Downer House, 108 The Terrace (also referred to as 106-110), Wellington. CPD House is now known as BERL House.
Architect: Orchiston, Power & Associates
Current location: Unknown
Heritage status: No known protection

Help us find it. Please contact us with any leads


Now missing, E. Mervyn Taylor’s final mural was created for Cable Price Downer House, Wellington, in 1964. Taylor may have never seen the completed mural, as he passed away suddenly in June before the opening of the building in July of 1964. Aesthetically, it seems to sit at the very cusp of what might have been a new era in Taylor’s oeuvre. Constructivist and pop art influences are apparent, possibly inspired by Taylor’s visits to both New York and Moscow in 1958. In a curious bookend to his public art practice, Taylor ended up working with the same architect for both his first and final murals: Bruce Orchiston, who had also commissioned Taylor to create the windows for the Ōtaki War Memorial Hall in 1955.

The final mural design was made in ceramic tiles by Taylor’s close friend Roy Cowan in the home kiln at his and Juliet Peter’s house in Ngaio, where many an architectural tile had been produced (‘tons of tiles’ remarked Cowan in an Evening Post article). It had become evident during the Masterton Hall of Memories work that the artist needed to retain control over the final product, and, with Cowan and the kiln only a few miles from Karori, Taylor would thus be able to check progress and colour consistency quickly.

It is likely the mural disappeared during a refit of the building in the mid-1980s. It may have been destroyed, or perhaps still exists somewhere—dismantled and packed in cardboard boxes in a storage area, or even on a wall in a Hong Kong office, where some members of Downer (after being asset-stripped by Brierley Investments) operated from in the early 1990s. What remains is a tragic loss.

Text adapted from Gregory J. Smith’s essay “A Renaissance Interrupted” in Wanted: The Search for the Modernist Murals of E. Mervyn Taylor (Massey Press, 2018).