Auckland primary schoolchildren paint winning mural

A new mural, titled ‘Uniquely New Zealand’, was recently unveiled at Balmoral School in Mt Eden, Auckland.

The full primary school was one of ten winners in Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s 2023 Resene Wall Worthy Competition, which gives youth groups, schools and ECEs from across the country the opportunity to paint a mural with an environmental theme or message, to help beautify an area at their school or in their local community.

Consisting of six large panels and attached to a blank wall at the school, the mural was painted by students from the school’s Eco-Warrior team with support from teachers. Depicting native flora and fauna, the mural was designed by students to celebrate the unique biodiversity in Aotearoa, and to encourage empathy towards native wildlife from a young age.

Emily Pauling, lead teacher for sustainability, mentions that students are learning about declines in biodiversity, and how it is one of the top environmental concerns currently facing New Zealand. When designing and painting the mural, students incorporated their learning into the mural.

Describing the depictions, Emily says, “focusing on birds, the tūī is large in the centre rising up into the sky, singing. It creates an uplifting feeling making us think of the tūī’s call that as New Zealanders we all know and love.”

Additionally, there is a small painted sign – fashioned to look like DoC trail signage – mentioning a Kiwi Zone and illustrating the danger dogs pose to Kiwi. “This,” Emily says, helps encourage students to “think about all predators that are a threat to our biodiversity here in New Zealand.”

With 900 students attending the school, the mural is designed to help fellow students appreciate nature and New Zealand’s unique wildlife. “Helping people fall in love with nature encourages them to look after it.”

The mural “has been a big but very beneficial project,” says Emily. “The Eco-Warrior students worked together and learned so many collaboration skills, they are so proud of their work. It is a gift to be able to beautify our school!”

Resene Wall Worthy Mural titled ‘Uniquely New Zealand’ at Balmoral School Mt Eden, Auckland

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