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. ’’

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