The visibility of culture throughout the school is an important signal for conveying to students and whānau that their culture is acknowledged and valued by the school. This includes the design of the buildings themselves, the presence of cultural artwork throughout the school, and the incorporation of cultural symbols or patterns in multiple media. Artwork, along with names given to learning spaces and buildings, should link the school to the history of its community and the local environment. [Wall, G. (2014) Modern Learning Environments to support priority learners,, Ministry of Education Wellington]
The climbing frame safety matting was another opportunity to add links to our own school cultural narrative and to acknowledge the significance of our school site to mana whenua.
Rāwhiti simply means ‘east’. Rāwhiti is one of the four principal compass points indicating the direction of the rising sun. The arrow shape within the matting design is pointing eastward acknowledging our school name and our beach side location. The stylized arrow includes koru shapes. Not only does a koru symbolise growth, strength and peace, its shape conveys the idea of movement and returning to a point of origin. Much like climbing on a large frame – using your own strength to move higher and higher and then returned back to the base when the time has come to go back to class!
The block Poutama pattern is often found in Māori weaving and plaiting. The stepped pattern reflects the story of Tāne Mahuta ascending to the uppermost realm to obtain the baskets of knowledge which he returned to Earth. The Poutama pattern links to our school vision of ‘Rising Above the Ordinary’, striving ever upwards and for betterment. Along the way Tāne faced many challenges at each level before he succeeded, much like trying to make it to the top of a seven metre climbing rope frame!
So when you make it to the top of the frame – stop – observe – look eastward to the direction of the sun rise and the opportunities the new day brings – think of Tāne and the challenges he faced on his climb to the top – celebrate your own successes and continue filling your own basket of knowledge.
E huri te aro ki te tai o te rāwhiti, ko te ūranga o te rā. He āo, he āo, he āo hou.
Turn your attention to the east, to the sun rise.
A day, a day, a new day has dawned.