Aro Valley Preschool Mosaic Mural – Wellington New Zealand

A project focusing on place-based education.
‘The natural environment provides many different learning opportunities for children. By making connections to the natural world, children are better able to understand their place within it. Place-based education is not just about the natural environment, it is also about culture, history, nature and experience. When children explore their relationship with the places around them, and by being active members of their local community, they are able to carry out meaningful investigations and research. As children build relationships with place, their knowledge of who they are and their own sense of identity grows. Place-based education aims to acknowledge everybody’s place in the world’

The mural reflects some of the story of “our place” – the history of the local area and the connection this has for members of the community now, as kaitiaki of the preschool and neighbourhood. A key feature of the mural is the Waimapihi Stream.
The local Waimapihi Stream is of special significance to the children because it flows (in pipes) under the preschool as it makes its journey under the city to Whanganui-a-tara (Wellington Harbour) near Te Papa.
Originally the stream flowed through the area now known as Aro Park (next to the preschool). It was here that Mapihi, a Maori princess, is reputed to have bathed.
The area around the preschool is warm and sheltered, and was used by Maori for growing gardens for Te Aro Pa and the stream was used by Maori for watering these gardens. Kumara is occasionally still found growing in the surrounding area.

13/05/16 an unveiling ceremony was held. Preschool families, members of the local community and representatives from the Wellington City Council and the Ministry of Education gathered together to celebrate the installation of the mosaic. Neavin Broughton, representative of mana whenua also blessed the mosaic which was a wonderfully special experience.

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