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Cow art has dairy farmers 'over the moon'

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A stunning cow mural has become a popular stop along the well-travelled Rai Valley roads in the Marlborough Sounds, and the story behind the artwork is equally as heart-warming as the spectacular mural.

What do you get when you combine a road-side cow shed, a family holiday, and a relief milker with an artistic hand and big heart?

For dairy farm owners John and Lynne Small, the answer was an appropriately themed mural (or should we say moo-ral) turning an ordinary shed wall into a vehicle-stopping work of art.

The funky moo-ral is a popular stop along the well-travelled Rai Valley roads in the Marlborough Sounds.

The funky moo-ral is a popular stop along the well-travelled Rai Valley roads in the Marlborough Sounds.

Following the birth of their first grandchild, John and Lynne Small hired a relief milker to stay on the farm while they travelled to America to spend time with their newest family member.

“We knew the artist through a mutual friend before he started on the farm, so we thought he might be keen to milk cows, as well as paint a mural” says John.

“He was up for the challenge, and the fact that he’s put so much thought and effort into creating this for us has really blown us away. We’d been keen on a mural for some time and everything just came together beautifully. The mural makes us smile every day”

The humble artist-turned-milker used the time around his farm schedule to create the masterpiece on the shed.

The element of surprise was key for the artist, who started with simple outlines, as he refused to disclose his vision to both the Smalls and curious passers-by who would stop to query exactly what the mural was going to depict.

The finished product is bight and striking. Located near the top end of the valley, it continues to attract attention from those travelling the Rai Valley roads, with passers-by often stopping to admire the artwork inspect and take a picture.

The regular milk-tanker driver even left a note for the Smalls once the mural had been completed: “After 14 years, love the paint job!”

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