An Incredible Message for Pride

Westpac’s Symphony arrives at Britomart, and it’s a must-see.

Auckland’s Pride Festival begins tomorrow and will see the city come alive in a very special way, for the sixth year running. New Zealand’s largest and loudest social and cultural programme of events for Rainbow communities is being celebrated at Britomart in several ways – the first is with a stunning, semi-permanent art installation that Westpac, as one of the country’s most forward-thinking corporate companies, have brought to the precinct.

The Westpac Group was last year named the Most Sustainable Bank in the World, and here in New Zealand was one of the first companies to be awarded the Rainbow Tick. This mark recognises a commitment to “creating a safe and respectful work environment for all LGBTI employees and customers; one that values all diversity, creating a culture of equality and inclusion.

Artist and Westpac employee Shannon Novak was commissioned by Westpac to, quite literally, bring a rainbow to Britomart: His site-specific work Symphony sees Westpac’s three Galway Street glass airbridges transformed into multicolour artworks, and will remain a feature for the next few months. “The word Symphony refers to a piece of music for an orchestra or a harmony of sounds” Shannon explains. “Each bridge represents a different sound, the three together creating harmony. This links to the idea of diversity, and how although we may all come from different walks of life (like different sounds), we can harmoniously stand as one and support each other. Symphony is a celebration of diversity, a celebration of the different colours we all contribute to the world we live in.”

Simon Power, Westpac NZ General Manager of Consumer Bank and Wealth, shares the meaning of the work from a Westpac point of view: “Shannon’s installation is great for a number of reasons. It is a thought-provoking, visual celebration of the value Westpac places on diversity. As a piece of urban art, Symphony brings Galway St to life for our local community.”

So why is Pride such an important festival, and diversity such a significant focus for Westpac? “Pride is all about creating a welcoming and inclusive place for people of diverse gender identity and sexual orientation” says Westpac NZ CEO David McLean.” We want all of our staff and customers to feel a real sense of belonging. As we say within the business, it’s all about ‘you being you’. And, from a business point of view, it makes sense to bring a diverse range of perspectives, backgrounds and opinion to any challenge or task.”

Symphony is a must-see and is an amazing sight both day and night. The installation can be viewed from the street or experienced with a walk-through of the lowest airbridge, accessible through Westpac’s public café and lobby.