Cultural diversity on show at Netherby

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Ricky Poa, Ashlin Halaufia, Juzmin Taanuu, Anneleise Touli, Silakivai Faingata'a, Mereani Cakaunitabua, Kadugli Mafiti, Netherby School teacher Ines Toder and artist Robyn Tomlinson.

By Mick Jensen

Cultural diversity is important at Netherby School and two newly created murals depict life and showcase Pasifika countries.

The murals include the ocean, a humpback whale, turtles and shells.

A Tongan mural is framed by a traditional tapa cloth pattern design, while the Samoan piece features cultural tattoo patterns.

Both have been painted by Pasifika students at Netherby with help from art school graduate Robyn Tomlinson.

Netherby School principal Phil Wheeler said 36 per cent of the school roll was made up of Pasifika students, the highest percentage of any Mid Canterbury school.

Those students came from, or had strong heritage links to Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and the Cook Islands.

The murals were part of a wider school project that included an action plan and an expansion of cultural competencies.

“The murals depict scenes typical of the Islands and will help welcome and give a sense of belonging to Pasifika families and students attending our school.”

The 2m x 1.2m paintings have been created over three days.

Welcome words in Tongan and Samoan will be added before they are hung near the main school entrance.