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Porirua East School

Region: Wellington

Art form: Visual Arts

Project name: Mahi Māra - The Collective Garden

Creative name: Margaret Tolland

Project information: A garden area at Porirua East School has two existing carved pou. Te Mahi Māra - The Collective Garden – will boost the garden with six additional pou and future planning of planting endemic species that will be part of the overall garden design. Te Mahi Māra – The Collective Garden will be an opportunity for a school-wide focus on diversity and the celebration of identity. The school has a very diverse community with Māori, Samoan, Tokelauan, Tongan, Niuean, Cook Island, Fijian, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Chinese, Colombian, Dutch, and German students. The six pou will be painted with symbols of identity that are unique to each student and their culture. These will be an expression of their individual cultures and a way for them to pass on their heritage and traditions and enhance their well-being and sense of identity. 

This project will be facilitated by our creative and will incorporate a coloured design using both painting and stencil work. She will encourage the students to see art in a wider context and as a viable future option for personal pleasure and as a career. Students at Porirua East School have many cultural stories to share and the opportunity to design and create a visual representation and celebration of them is the driving force for our project. The project will utilise these stories and involve whānau in the building of more stories to share what is special and unique about their cultures and themselves. These will be represented within the pou to share with others. 

Throughout the project students will be involved in discussions, research, planning, preparation, and production of the pou to be placed in the Collective Garden. Students will have the opportunity to develop and grow as artists as they provide the ideas for the designs, work through the design process, complete the pou, and make decisions on their final placement within the Collective Garden. They will have the opportunity to participate as individuals and collaboratively with different groups throughout the project. Te Mahi Māra – The Collective Garden will link the traditional pou to the contemporary ideas of the students to represent themselves, their cultures, and their whānau. They will see that creativity is an agent of change that can transform people and places.

Project starting: February 2022

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