Artist and Agri company in union

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In a brilliant piece of creativity combining two of NZ’s iconic symbols, rugby and the dairy industry, Paeroa Agricultural suppliers AgriSea lead the country with an innovative marketing initiative.
Their powerful marketing campaign - ‘Staunch Supporter’ - featuring a defiant line up of half-man, half-bull rugby players performing the ‘haka’ ... so perfectly captures the spirit of kiwi rugby that requests have been pouring into their offices for copies of the poster.
AgriSea director Tane Bradley said that as soon as he saw the fantastically powerful painting “Rise Up’ by talented local artist Barry Ross Smith, it brought to life the full force of what rugby means to New Zealanders.
“Although the image captures the determination and charisma of kiwi rugby players, it’s also about the passion of all the countries taking part in this world tournament. For us, the image encapsulated NZ so perfectly ... it may also help promote our company to the international rugby audience currently in our country.”

Acclaimed international artist Barry Ross Smith works from a studio in an elevated abandoned building in Paeroa with views of the local hills and farmland. Surrounded by a rural landscape dominated by the dairy industry, it was a short leap in artistic licence to combine the imagery and power of bulls with the iconic ABs.
Although ‘Rise Up’ draws on the ancient myth of the Greek half-man/half-bull ‘The Minotaur’, the image perfectly captures that mix of farming and rugby that NZ projects to the rest of the world.
Barry says that with each new work “... I endeavor to express fresh ways to represent ideas about relationships and connections with my environment, the inside thoughts combined with outside influences, for ‘Rise Up’ it was the rugby world cup.” He said that what matters to him as an artist is that the initial mental idea, made physical by painting, is then transformed into thought by the viewer. “In the fulfillment of this process the artwork develops, alters and, if the artwork has a pulse ... lives.”

Rise Up (detail)
Rise Up (detail)
The AgriSea marketing campaign, which includes billboards, car-stickers and posters, has been launched all over the North Island. The multi-award winning company AgriSea, with offices in Paeroa and Gisborne, produces quality nutritional seaweed products for soil, pasture, garden and animal health. It epitomises a family run NZ business working in and for the community. Sponsoring projects both locally and nationally, they, as their poster says, are ‘staunch supporters’ of grass-roots rugby from junior through to senior grades.

by Norman Jones