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Poroutawhao School

Region: Wellington

Art form: Visual Arts

Project name: ‘Hidden Gem’ relates to the idea of revealing the invisible

Creative name: Wendy Hodder

Project information: Poroutawhao School is on SH1 but not noticeable from the road. There has been a call from the community to beautify the front fence as a way of drawing attention to the presence of the school and to communicate the essential character of the school. To do this in a meaningful way, we will paint a mural that tells our story on the fence that is visible from the road and carpark. This is an opportunity for students and whānau to gain a deeper understanding of the significant jewels we have as part of our identity. There will be rich inquiry into the areas of significance to the kura, such as visits to the Ngāti Huia marae with local hapū and to Ngawakahiamoe, bush that we are kaitiaki of. We will do research and visits to Waitarere beach as part of a preservation project, as well as visits to see murals painted locally, to show ways of representing images in a mural and some possibilities for work as an artist. The deep, rich learning that will help foster a sense of belonging, well-being and community is immeasurable.

Some features of the mural will be the huia bird which relates to our strong Ngāti Huia connection, the Ngawakahiamoe bush reserve, bird life and precious snails, our beach that we hold dear, the cabbage tree that is our graduate profile icon, and the Tararua ranges, which are a spectacular backdrop to the school. The goal is to tell the story of us (not just a collection of images), to symbolise the importance of things that contribute to our sense of belonging and well-being. 

The name ‘Hidden Gem’ relates to the idea of revealing the invisible—not just the school itself—to the outside world. Kaitiakitanga is a theme—the Ngawakahiamoe bush reserve is a special untouched environment that contains rare micro snails only seen under microscope, the beach contains pipi beds, not visible but vulnerable to vehicle traffic, the making of art involves an unseen flow of ideas and inspiration—the wairua of the work—and each of us has hidden talents which are revealed through the process.

Upon completion, every child will have a deep understanding of the imagery and the significance and have a feeling of connection to the story it tells of ‘us’. Whānau will also be encouraged to offer ideas that represent the connection of the kura to the wider community. They will be invited to join in as they are able, and there will be regular communication with the school community showing updates. We will celebrate the partnership’s achievement with a community ‘unveiling’.

Project starting: February 2022

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