Upper Hutt School students lend a hand to brighten streets

Upper Hutt School pupils check out their new mural on Blenheim St.

Upper Hutt School pupils check out their new mural on Blenheim St.

A vibrant mural has helped to brighten up the city streets.

Senior students from Upper Hutt School began painting the mural on Blenheim St in mid-August with help from artist Joe McMenamin and the finishing touches were added late last week.

The mural was produced in partnership with the Upper Hutt City Council which managed the project, provided paint and equipment, and brought McMenamin on board with the project.

The new mural outside Upper Hutt School on Blenheim St.

The new mural outside Upper Hutt School on Blenheim St.

The vision for the mural was to create a "Painted Environment" to highlight Upper Hutt's scenic outdoors and its unique culture and heritage.

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The school's 90-year-old oak tree features prominently, along with the school's whakataukī, or proverb. The mural also depicts things the students loved about their school and city, such as the rich cultural heritage, geography and biodiversity.

Council director of community services Mike Ryan said the installation of the mural and the clean-up of the surrounding area was part of the  council's city-wide project,

"Painted Environment  aims to decrease graffiti vandalism, beautify our city, and build cultural and heritage character in Upper Hutt by facilitating the installation of murals in public places."

The opportunity to paint the mural came up when the school removed corrugated iron from a wall on Blenheim St as part of an upgrade to its fencing.

 Principal Jo Grant was "thrilled" with the mural and said it really reflected what made the school and Upper Hutt so special.

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"Once the fence had been removed, and the wall emerged, students and staff realised that the wall was a blank canvas. We seized the opportunity to connect with our community and embark on the next Painted Environment."

Council community development advisor Denise Johnson said the Painted Environment projects had been up and running for over 18 months and had been engaging children, young people and communities across Upper Hutt.

"In addition to city beautification, some of the most rewarding outcomes of the project to date are seeing children and young people connecting with their community and taking ownership and pride in our city."

Other projects included murals at the Ebdentown pedestrian and cycle way, Totara Park, Fraser Crescent School, Moonshine Bridge pedestrian underpass and the rejuvenation of the Merton Street shopping centre mural.

 - Upper Hutt Leader


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