From drab to fab: Rotorua artist teams up with school to create new mural

A dull, grey wall at Ngongotaha Primary School will be transformed into a bright mural depicting local stories, with the help of a $10,000 grant from Rotorua Trust.

Ngongotaha School is one of Rotorua Trust’s latest grant recipients, with the funds going towards the creation of a mural at the corner of School Road and Hood Street.

Local artist Ants Haines has been working alongside the school’s student council to create the design and the undercoat is being applied to the wall this week.

Weather permitting, it is hoped painting of the mural can start this week.

Ngongotaha School Principal Craig McFadyen says not only will the mural be a visually appealing asset to the street, but the many designs will be used as teaching points for the tamariki to recognise and understand their tūrangawaewae.

“Ngongotaha School offers an exceptional academic programme complemented by numerous opportunities in sport and the arts supporting students to explore their passions and to excel in a wide range of pursuits,” Mr McFadyen says.

“The mural project is being driven by the student council. Ants has designed it based on what the kids have asked for and when it comes to the painting, the children will be able to help with that too.

“We are proud of our school environment, school culture and the quality of children’s learning achieved throughout the school and we aim to provide stimulating, enjoyable learning which will educate the whole child and create an independent learner for the future.”

Mr McFadyen says Ngongotaha School has a proud history in the community and enjoys the community sense of whanaungatanga (belonging) that it fosters.

“We have a localised curriculum for our children, based on who they are and where they come from. This mural will be a part of that and we’re really excited to see it come to life.”

Mr McFadyen says the support from Rotorua Trust has been “outstanding”, with their contribution covering a significant part of the cost of the mural.

Rotorua Trust Chairman Stewart Edward says the Trust’s investment in this project is an opportunity to fund a visual enhancement for Ngongotaha School that the community can enjoy too.

“The outcome will be the enjoyment of the mural as a visual arts piece and the contribution students make for its design and completion, as well as a teaching tool where children can learn about the Ngongotaha area.”