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Tamatea High School Celebrates Pasifika Links

(L to R) Louise Cuthbert, Rev. Leo Te Kira, Dena Bach, Alamein Burns and Matua Robin Fabish pictured with Yr 11 Tamatea High School students and their new mural.

(L to R) Louise Cuthbert, Rev. Leo Te Kira, Dena Bach, Alamein Burns and Matua Robin Fabish pictured with Yr 11 Tamatea High School students and their new mural.

Tamatea High School students were proud to be part of the blessing performed by Reverand Leo Te Kira as the school unveiled it’s latest mural celebrating the migratory link between Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Principal, Robin Fabish, said that the school was very lucky to have the support from artist and newly appointed Te Aute College art teacher, Dena Bach. Other contributors to the murals creation included Mika and Kaiata Kaitao, Dena’s family members and Matua Robin.

“A few years back Dena had visited the school and offered to create a mural. I really wanted something that our Pasifika students could look at and see themselves represented. We know that the Ngāti Kahungunu waka, Tākitimu, was originally called Tarai Pō and was built in Samoa. There is a strong whakapapa connection between our Polynesian peoples and it’s important to recognise that.”

The Pasifika person is playing the conch (called a pū in the Cook Islands and a pūtātara in Māori) and the Māori woman is responding with her pūtorino. The sound waves reverberate across Te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa, the Pacific Ocean. Images include the turtle, frangipani flower, birds, fish and sailing waka which honour the traditions of the Islands and Aotearoa.

Fabish added that the school members are all really thrilled with the message of inclusion, identity and the importance of ancestry that the mural reminds us of at Tamatea High. “We want to continue in the tradition of former students and Art teacher Graham Lister who in the past created murals for the school – some of which still adorn the school walls.