Kingsford Primary School students, guided by local iwi Te Ākitai Waiohua and artist Dr Johnson Witehira, have produced a 70-metre mural celebrating the rich history of the area near their school in Mangere. The mural was recently unveiled in its home in the temporary space/active connection connecting Winthrop Way and Mayflower Close in Mangere, a two-minute walk from the school.
Kingsford Primary School teacher Laura McBean says around 20 students from different ages with a passion for art participated in the project, coordinated by Kāinga Ora as part of its Mangere Development. The junior creatives spent three weeks designing the giant work which was then organised by Dr Witehira to tell the story of the area. Fierce volcanoes and intricately carved waka feature prominently in the mural, emphasising the area’s geothermal beginnings and its historic significance to Te Ākitai Waiohua as a transport route.
Laura says participating in the project was positive for the whole school community. “It was a unique opportunity. To be a student who has a passion for art to be able to walk around in your community and see something that is so big that you helped create is a huge sense of accomplishment. It is something that they will be proud of and remember for a very long time,” Laura says.
Kāinga Ora Placemaking Advisor for Mangere McKenzie Tuala-Pine says it is great to see the community working together to share kaupapa and stories which will brighten up the temporary space while work to build more warm, dry homes in the area continues.
“One of our goals at Kāinga Ora is to build thriving communities in the areas we are working in. The temporary space was created because of community feedback and, in future, it is intended to be a permanent ‘backyard park’ for tamariki. It is fantastic to see how the students have stepped up to make it their own,” McKenzie says.
The temporary space is expected to be in place until spring 2022 at which time the mural will be returned to Kingsford Primary School. Kāinga Ora will consult with the community in 2022 about the final design of the permanent park.