Every picture tells a story - and for the children of Cannons Creek School, it's a tale of new encounters.
For most of them, yesterday was the first time they had been inside an art gallery, and for many it was only the second time they had been to central Wellington.
Sheila Tui, 9, and Francois Tamaiva, 8, enjoyed the bus ride and trying to spot dolphins in the harbour.
But Sheila also liked hearing about the various people in the paintings at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery. "We got told how to paint as well."
"It's better than being at school," Francois said. "I didn't want to have to go to violin today."
The big day out was organised by Friends of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery, who decided to help out after reading a report in The Dominion Post about the cost of transport preventing schools from taking children on trips.
Donations from its 500 members helped to pay for a bus and snacks for 42 children from years 5 and 6 at the Porirua school.
"This is the beginning of something new for the gallery," friends president Joy Dunsheath said.
"It's positive for the whole city if more children get to visit.
"We'd like to foster more relationships with schools, and specifically target those that wouldn't be able to come without help with transport."
After visiting the gallery, the children headed to the Museum of Wellington City & Sea, where they took part in a scavenger hunt, before going to Frank Kitts Park for lunch.
The scavenger hunt was Sheila's favourite, while Francois' attention was caught by the slide at the park and the skating rink at Queens Wharf.
Teacher Angela Pau'u said the children were excited about the trip, as many had been to Wellington only once before, on a previous school trip to Te Papa.
"There's been a lot of buildup and excitement leading up to the gallery visit, and the children have had lots of questions. They thought there would be a lot of statues because that's what they pick up from TV and movies.
"Seeing the response from the children when they were looking at the paintings and seeing things they hadn't before was amazing.
"We'll be carrying the conversations on with them in the classroom and having discussions about what they learned."
9.30am – bus left Cannons Creek School for Wellington
10.45am – tour and quiz at the NZ Portrait Gallery
11.30am – visit to Museum of Wellington City & Sea, including a scavenger hunt
12.30pm – lunch at Frank Kitts Park 2.15pm – back on the bus to Cannons Creek School
- The Dominion Post
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