Ahipara Mural 2014

Ahipara Mural 2014

Sandhoppers Fence

This project started with Ahipara school students having a homework assignment asking them to note down and draw what they thought should be on the mural fence and why. We took this information and with a group of seniors we developed a plan. This took some time, as we had to measure up the fence and divide it into sections to encompass all the elements we wanted in the mural. The common theme in the student’s ideas was the environment, what they see around them and what Ahipara means to them. buy college essays

The school was a central part of their ideas with their maunga, Whangatauatia rising behind. To the left, the hills and mountains continue with native birds and trees in the foreground.

To the far left of the mountains follow the dip to the vale , where the sprits travel onto Te Oneroa a Tohe (90 Mile Beach)to continue their journey to Cape Reinga and on to Hawaiaki,

To the right of the school is ‘Long John Silver’, the one legged seagull who became a part of the school many years ago and is present on the school logo. The mural then changes from the forestlands to the beach with a toi toi silhouette and horse. The horse was placed there specifically to make use of the existing gate. The beach continues in the background with the beach life attached in the foreground. Protected dotterel birds and chick and an oystercatcher poke around in the rocks then the river, which flows along the whole length of the mural fence, here flows into the sea. A panel of detailed shells decorates the fence leading towards a school of (different species) of fish. The shells and fish are all familiar to the students and commonly found on and around the beach/sea. The right of the fence bends around to Shipwreck Bay and Tauroa Point and then onto the deep blue sea, with a dolphin, shark and whale.


Once we had a rough plan, we started collecting image resources and doing lots of drawing and colouring using different media, water pencils, pastels and paints. Junior students did a lot of the drawing and colour selection. Junior and senior students working together did the next part of the process. We projected the images onto plywood, enlarging and re-drawing them on. This was a fiddly process, as we needed to take paper images out to the fence site and hold them up and view them from the road to make sure they were visible and made an impact from a distance. The seniors worked in pairs using the jigsaw to cut out and sand the images. This took time for them to learn the skill of cutting detailed shapes and following safety regulations. I then had junior students back and they did the base painting of the images. The next step was getting another crew to paint the mid colours and a final group of seniors to do the detail and black and white outlining and highlights.

The fence painting was fairly simple, as we just needed a basic, bold landscape to attach our images to. Although this took time, as we had to dodge the wet weather and painting on a vertical face takes a bit to get used to. Colour selection was important here, it needed to be bright to be seen clearly when viewed from the road.

When complete, our fantastic school builder came and secured the images to the fence with the help and guidance from a group of seniors. Touch ups are still currently being done and some areas could possibly still be added to or be worked on as an ongoing, whole school project. Any accidental damage is easily fixed with paint touch ups and help from the builder.

These photos show the process involved to create the mural: