Stu­dents’ mu­ral helps to beau­tify city

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEWTSO

‘‘Once the fence had been re­moved, and the wall emerged, stu­dents and staff re­alised that the wall was a blank can­vas. ’’

A vi­brant mu­ral has helped to brighten up Up­per Hutt’s streets.

Se­nior stu­dents from Up­per Hutt School be­gan paint­ing the mu­ral on Blen­heim St in midAu­gust with help from artist Joe Mc­Me­namin and the fin­ish­ing touches were added late last week.

The mu­ral was pro­duced in part­ner­ship with the Up­per Hutt City Coun­cil which man­aged the project, pro­vided paint and equip­ment, and brought Mc­Me­namin on board with the project.

The vi­sion for the mu­ral was to cre­ate a ‘‘Painted En­vi­ron­ment’’ to high­light Up­per Hutt’s scenic outdoors and its cul­ture and her­itage.

The school’s 90-year-old oak tree fea­tures promi­nently, along with the school’s whakataukı¯, or proverb. The mu­ral also de­picts things the stu­dents loved about their school and city, such as the rich cul­tural her­itage, ge­og­ra­phy and bio­di­ver­sity.

Coun­cil di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity ser­vices Mike Ryan said the in­stal­la­tion of the mu­ral and the clean-up of the sur­round­ing area was part of the coun­cil’s city-wide project,

‘‘Painted En­vi­ron­ment aims to de­crease graf­fiti van­dal­ism, beau­tify our city, and build cul­tural and her­itage char­ac­ter in Up­per Hutt by fa­cil­i­tat­ing the in­stal­la­tion of mu­rals in public places.’’

The op­por­tu­nity to paint the mu­ral came up when the school re­moved cor­ru­gated iron from a wall on Blen­heim St as part of an up­grade to its fenc­ing.

Principal Jo Grant was ‘‘thrilled’’ with the mu­ral and said it re­ally re­flected what made the school and Up­per Hutt so spe­cial.

‘‘Once the fence had been re­moved, and the wall emerged, stu­dents and staff re­alised that the wall was a blank can­vas. We seized the op­por­tu­nity to con­nect with our com­mu­nity and em­bark on the next Painted En­vi­ron­ment.’’

Coun­cil com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment ad­vi­sor Denise John­son said the Painted En­vi­ron­ment projects had been up and run­ning for over 18 months and had been en­gag­ing chil­dren, young peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties across Up­per Hutt.

‘‘In ad­di­tion to city beau­ti­fi­ca­tion, some of the most re­ward­ing out­comes of the project to date are see­ing chil­dren and young peo­ple con­nect­ing with their com­mu­nity and tak­ing own­er­ship and pride in our city.’’

Other projects in­cluded mu­rals at the Eb­den­town pedes­trian and cy­cle way, To­tara Park, Fraser Cres­cent School, Moon­shine Bridge pedes­trian un­der­pass and the re­ju­ve­na­tion of the Merton Street shop­ping cen­tre mu­ral.

PHOTO: UP­PER HUTT CITY COUN­CIL

Up­per Hutt School stu­dents check out their new mu­ral. Left, the art­work out­side the school on Blen­heim St. Principal Jo Grant

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