School’s thoughtful mural takes the winning prize

Sacred Heart School teacher aide and artist Ruan Barton (right) explains the inspiration behind...
Sacred Heart School teacher aide and artist Ruan Barton (right) explains the inspiration behind the school’s award-winning mural to (from left) project co-ordinator Emmeline Kendrick and pupils Bella Anderson and Seva Solomatenko (both 9). Photo: Peter McIntosh
It started with a big blank wall and a question about what to do with it.

From there, Sacred Heart School in Northeast Valley came up with an idea to create a colourful mural.

But not just any old mural.

Project co-ordinator Emmeline Kendrick decided to enter it into the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Wall Worthy Mural Competition.

She said the school gathered information from pupils and parents about what they would like to see in the mural, and teacher aide and artist Ruan Barton put it all together in  a concept drawing which celebrated the local environment and the school’s culture.

The image was then sent to the national competition organisers and, to the delight of the school community, it became the first in Otago to win the primary category of the competition.

As part of the award, Keep New Zealand Beautiful provided all the paint and tools necessary to turn the concept drawing into reality.

So, over the past two terms, Mrs Barton and senior pupils have transformed the wall and yesterday the mural was officially unveiled.

Mrs Kendrick said progress on the mural was slow because the winter months had been very wet this year.

At one stage, dry days were so rare, pupils were sent out with tennis rackets covered in cardboard to fan the paint dry as the painters worked.

Mrs Barton said the mural contained the values of the school — respect, justice and humanity — the words aroha, truth and sharing, alongside images of local flora and fauna, Lindsay Creek, Mt Cargill and games played at nearby Chingford Park.

At the top of the mural, a large taniwha guards the local people and places in the image, she said.

"It sends the message that you have to be appreciative of community values.

"It’s very exciting to see it finished."

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