Art Installations at MHS

Ceramics Installation:

 Tūhononga- the connection of our people

(near Grey Street entrance)

This installation was brought about by Lauren Kidd (HOD Art) and began with Ceramics workshops at Motueka High School in September 2021.

The vision for the project was to use ceramics to connect members of our school community. This included Year 10 students from mainstream, ākonga from our Special Needs unit, ākonga from our Alternative Education Unit, whānau, Tangata Whenua and kaiako from our Kura.

Ehara taka toa

I te toa takitahi,

Engari, ko te toa takitini

(My strength is not that of an individual

But that of a collective)

Rubiks Cube Mural

(on Grey Street entrance)

In 2015 the MHS Arts Committee and specifically, Arts Captain, Stella Bogdanoff got a group of enthusiastic artists together to plan a mural that would go on the back of the Arts block on the Grey Street side.

Stella got permission and funding from the MHS Board of Trustees and even costed all the paints and equipment out to fit the budget. In short it was a slick production from start to finish.

The team conceptualised an idea of a Rubiks Cube, with each individual cube painted by an individual or group which would then be stuck to the wall afterwards. 

Stella even ran a competition for someone to redesign the school crest on one of the cubes. The maths involved in cutting the wooden pieces to fit was mind boggling and just enforces how important a bit of mathematical knowledge is in all areas of life!

Stella and her team painted the mural and the pieces over the course of about 4 months, at lunch times and after schools. They have done an outstanding job and have set the precedent for all Arts Committees to come in the future. Go and check it out sometime!

Tim Wraight carvings

​​​​​​​(at the Main public entrance way to school)


The four sculptures  (centred near the entranceway to school) represent the North, South, East and West winds. 

The “North Wind” is shown on a double Taurapa – or sternpost.  The birds on this sculpture fly in different directions on each side of the concrete casting.  The main lines represent Farewell Spit with the wild sea outside it and the sheltered bay inside it – where migratory birds arrive and leave annually.

The “South Wind” carving in Oamaru stone is in the shape of the hand of local Maori Explorer-Navigator, Turangapeke, and the animals and signs that guided him - dolphins, whales, stars and a large albatross are all shown.

The “West Wind” is a high pole featuring two taniwha – the student who worked on this used two metal finishes to represent his Dutch and Maori ancestry.  These are to show the guardians of the caves behind the lizards and the source of Motueka River which has been carved into the pole

The “East Wind” is cut from metal and shows a man greeting the sun at dawn.

The carvings began when ex-Principal John Tait left in 2001 and donated the large Oamaru stone and were finished in time for the school's Golden Jubilee in 2005.  Mike Howell, ex HOD Art, completed them and gifted the work to the school.

​​​​​​​Stand at the centre and reflect on the wind direction that bought you and your ancestors here.

Foyer Murals completed in 1982

Kaupapa of our project

Our school and wider community whānau had an amazing opportunity to work on a collaborative project with the aim of making connections that bring people together using the tactile medium of ceramics.

The vision for this project is to use ceramics to connect members of our School Community. This will include Year 10 ākonga (students) from mainstream, ākonga from our Special Needs Unit, ākonga from our Alternative Education Unit, whānau, Tangata Whenua and kaiako from our Kura.

What it is about

The proposal was for a ceramic installation of 6-7 Totem Poles (approximately 3-4 meters high). They would be installed permanently in the garden bed, between the Art Department, The Base (Special Needs Unit) and Alternative Education Facilities. Essentially creating a connection between all three.

The Artwork’s theme is about connection.

The main focus of this project is to build connections between people.

Students will learn not only practical art making skills but how to build relationships with each other and wider community members. They will work alongside Parents and community whanau, including Teaching staff, who will be invited to contribute to the installation through a weekend wananga held at the Kura.

All contributors to the project will learn how to make connections between themselves and the place they stand (their Turangawaewae) by incorporating local stories and patterns into their design work. As well as this, they will build a permanent collaborative Installation that they can return to in the future and have a great sense of ownership and pride in. (Whakahī).

Learning Outcomes for the Motueka High School students

Over the course of this project students learnt basic hand building techniques, exploration of traditional and contemporary whakairo design, working with tools, carving, decorating and firing. They will focus on developing strong skills in building connections between a concept and a final work. This will be a unique experience for students at Motueka High School to work with a medium (clay) we can no longer use in our curriculum due to resources.

Students involved in the project will learn:

- Collaboration. Working towards a common goal to create a community project (Hapori Whānui)

-Cultural designs, the meaning behind regional Māori patterns and symbolism in Whakairo and Kowhaiwhai. Use of key Art elements in design

- Hand building skills using clay

- Carving skills using specialised equipment

- Glazing. Hand painting slip/glaze onto clay and the effect of heat on glaze colours

-Installation of an Art Work. Practical engineering of an Exterior Art Work

- Ownership and Whakahī (pride)

Picket Fence Art project ​​​​​​​(in the corridor between the Hall and Tuck Shop)

Cat Mural (opposite the School Library in the shelter)

MHS Foyer Murals (left and below) completed in 1982 by staff and students.  Here is the report from The Weka 

MHS Student entrance mural