The Christchurch gym using graffiti to make a difference in the community

Headlines 06/07/2018

A Christchurch gym caretaker is encouraging local tamariki to spray paint his building, with one condition: theyhave to stop tagging the streets.

The scheme is backed by the police and is changing lives in a low-decile community, with one young artist landing their first paid gig.

Jacob Root is leaving his mark permanently in Christchurch's east on the side of A-Town Gym, and he's getting paid to do it.

"I just like the creativity with this kind of style, just all the colour, and putting something that's going to last for a while," he says.

Caretaker Jamie Roberts offered the gym's walls as a canvas for the taggers plaguing his neighbourhood of Aranui.

"Some of them have a lot of talent, and some of them just need to put a bit more effort in like Jacob has, and possibly make a career out of it."

But there's a catch - if their tags are seen anywhere in Christchurch, their art will be removed from the gym's wall.

It's an extension of the gym's community mission in inspiring local kids to dream big and work hard.

Christchurch Police have given their full blessing.

"It's awesome because they have pride in what they're doing," says senior sergeant Toni Carroll.

The council is on board too, and is funding the first major piece - a depiction of boxer Joseph Parker.

It's winning fans already, Parker's younger brother John stopping by to comment that the mural looks exactly like him.

Mr Root is hoping others will follow in his footsteps and earn an income from their talent.