Celebration of cultures at school
A colourful gateway and a mural of native flora and fauna is helping Randwick School celebrate its diverse community.
On August 22, the Lower Hutt school opened its newly-decorated waharoa and tomokanga, the entrances to the school and the school’s hall.
The entrances were decked out with colourful designs using symbols and themes from different cultures, from Maori to Indian. The project began in May 2015 when Maori curriculum leader Tania Buckrell first floated the idea.
‘‘I had raised it with a group of parents and members of the community and everybody was very excited about the idea.’’
She said they wanted to create a visible cultural presence in the school and celebrate their diversity.
‘‘We felt it would be something everybody in the community could take pride in. It would reflect the cultures in our community.
‘‘We also wanted to focus on the Maori world view in regards to the natural world.’’
The tomokanga, or hall entrance, was also decorated with murals showing Te Ao Marama, or the Maori World.
Artist Joe McMenamin was commissioned to work on the murals and the paintings, one over the school gate, or waharoa, and one at the entrance of the school’s hall.
‘‘It’s really cool to be involved in something where you’re trying to capture the cultural essence of the school and bring that to life artistically.’’
He was given a brief involving Maori gods, nature, and day and night. In his murals, he used images of native birds and plant life, such as tui and pohutukawa trees.
He also included designs from Indian, Chinese and Pacific Island cultures on the posts at the entrance to the school hall.
Further down the track, students will be able to add more of their own flair to the murals.
McMenamin said there were plans in the works for student-led murals. He spent some time taking an art lesson with the children, to teach them how to ‘‘turn their ideas into reality’’.
‘‘We felt it would be something everybody in the community could take pride in. ’’