Martinborough ECE students add their touches to new mural

Martinborough Playcentre in South Wairarapa have completed their winning mural titled ‘Te Whanau Tupu ngatahi‘ as part of this year’s Keep New Zealand Beautiful Resene Wall Worthy Competition.

The early childhood centre was one of ten winners in this year’s 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 in their local community.

The mural celebrates families and children playing outdoors in nature, and prominently features a large painted tree on which each student at the ECE is encouraged to add their handprint as a ‘leaf’, building the tree and the mural up over time. Other features of the mural include kowhaiwhai patters, which have been painted after consultation with local iwi, and an outline of the iconic Remutaka Ranges in the background, the gateway to the Wairarapa.

Danielle Pullan, teacher at Martinborough Playcentre, says, “The tree was special because it gave the kids the chance to be involved and have a part in creating this piece of art in their space. So they can proudly look at their wall and say ‘we did that together’ ”

The mural tree is designed to grow as the centre grows, with new families adding their handprints to the branches to make new leaves, tying into the theme of nature as ever growing and evolving.

“The leaves are symbolic of our Playcentre community in that everyone brings something unique to contribute to their centre. Over the years, my hope is that the tree will keep on growing as more families come through playcentre and add their ‘touch’ to the space.”

Ms. Pullan says, “The love of the people touching the tree shows that we have to teach our tamariki from a young age to care for our environment because if kids love the environment then looking after it will never feel like work.”

As part of the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Resene Wall Worthy prize, the school received $750 in vouchers for Resene paints of their choosing, painting supplies and a $500 cash bonus for the school.

About the Resene Nature Murals Competition
The Resene Nature Murals Competition, which is part of the Paint New Zealand Beautiful programme, ran from April to June 2022. Community members were called on to submit mural designs, which include an environmental message, for a wall to paint in their local community. Artists from around the country sent in their designs, with the top ten murals selected based on their environmental message, enhancement of the community, and originality/creativity. Winners then have 12 months to bring their mural to life.

Winning designs receive a $750 Resene paint voucher and other materials to paint their mural, receive a $1,000 grant upon completion

Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO, Heather Saunderson, says: “Our Resene Nature Murals Competition provides a great opportunity for artists to beautify their local communities. In its sixth year, this competition continues to grow in popularity and we’re always so impressed with the calibre of entries we receive that narrowing down the selection to just ten winners is getting harder and harder. We’re so excited to see these murals come to life, knowing how the beautification of public spaces greatly benefits communities by increasing civic pride and deterring vandalism and anti-social behaviour such as littering and graffiti.”

The ten winning artists and regions are listed below, and their designs can be viewed here.

  • Micaela van den Berg, Sunrise, Kaipara
  • Brigita Botma, Harmony, Auckland
  • Carol Green & Kim Littlejohn, Bringing Nature to the City, Auckland
  • Corey Harbrow, Keep NZ Beautiful, Christchurch
  • Danny Owen, Nature, Invercargill
  • Leon Hohepa, Future Generations, Porirua
  • Matt Russell, Resilience, Wellington
  • Paranika Dudley Heeth, The Return of Nature, Auckland
  • Shann Whitaker, The Interconnection of all Living Things, Mangawhai
  • Vanessa Barclay, The World is in Our Hands, Cambridge

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