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Hastings Boys' High School

Artist in Residence

Why Pita?

Pita Kire is an old boy of Hastings Boys' High and completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Hawkes Bay EIT in 2000. He has been involved in many local exhibitions and commissions and is a great role model for Māori students.

Artists in Schools Project

To paint a mural in the Hastings Boys' School Library, depicting the legend of Tawhaki and the knowledge he gained in climbing to heaven.

Making the Canvas

Gap student sanding routed joints.
Technical staff helped with wood and canvas frame construction

Language Development

Class Set of Booklets

They contain

  • Information about the artist.
  • Different versions of the legend of Tawhaki
  • English, Māori, Samoan and Japanese speakers interpreted the legend in their own language.

Stage 1 Research Topic

  • Research space and place for the mural
  • Read and study the different versions of the legend e.g. Ngati Kahungunu
  • Resource Personnel - EIT Māori Dept, Toi Maitarangi, Kahungunu Kaumatua, Librarians
  • Drawing - resources: canvas, pencils, paint



  • Rockwell, N. America ISBN 0-8109-0454-3
  • Eschenfelder, C. Masters of Italian Art ISBN 3-8290-0256-4
  • Blackley, R. Goldie ISBN 1-86953-340-2
  • Te Awekotuku, N., Nikora, L. Mau Moko ISBN 978-0-67-004561-7
  • Gossage, P. Puhi Huia and Pongo ISBN 1-86948-502-5
  • Gossage, P. How Maui Defied the Goddess of Death ISBN 1-86948-574-2


  • Genesis perform Ahorangi. This video is held in the Hastings Library.

Developmental drawings

Composition - selection of canvas images

Attacking the empty canvas

The start The space to fill!

Work room

Enlarging drawings to full scale on canvas

Composition and first paint layer

Painting process

Students watch and admire

Student involvement

The legend unfolds, canvas by canvas

All twelve of them

Then the details are added, regenerated and resolved

Language development

Language departments are challenged to rewrite the legend in modern languages. Pita did a written summary of the meaning and ideas underpinning each canvas.

Students study and make language and art using the artwork as a source of motivation

Students will rewrite the legend in Māori, English and other languages illustrated by students' art.

Student drawings and illustrations

The finished mural

What was gained and by whom?

The school

  • A mural pertinent to the school and its large Māori population.
  • Written work and illustrations to support literacy.
  • Raising the profile of art within the school community.

The students

  • A role model for all students especially Māori boys.
  • A source of inspiration for senior art students.
  • Motivation to develop and extend ideas into new work.

The Artist

  • Confidence to handle bigger projects.
  • Personal growth in art and tikanga.
  • Development of personal relationships, media exposure and artistic profile.

The Community

  • The intellectual /academic discussion based on contemporary application of the legend to Māori learning.
  • Future focus for Māori education.
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