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CSNS's Artful Celebration of Te Ao Māori

Like many schools, College Street Normal School has been on a journey to establish strong connections with our local Iwi, Rangitane, and gain a better understanding of and connection to the land we stand on. We asked ourselves how we can embrace this in our Kura.

In 2019 a group of whānau and kaiako was formed to start working on goals and aspirations that our whanau had for our kura. We wanted CSNS to be a place that values, enriches, and promotes Te Ao Māori in its surroundings and values, so that all tamariki have a knowledge and understanding as well as a connection to the unique culture of Aotearoa.

One aspiration was providing our tamariki with artwork that told a story and celebrated Te Ao Māori, including stories of the Manawatū. Jess Collins designed the large art pieces which incorporate our local history curriculum. We also acknowledge local historian and artist Warren Warbrick who consulted with Jess on this kaupapa.

The installation in our main school quad depicts Okatia and the creation story of Te Āpiti Manawatū Gorge. A second artwork, in our library symbolises the three kete of knowledge Tane sought when he ascended the twelve heavens.

On the 18th July, after our school pōwhiri, the whole school gathered together on the quad to celebrate the installation of these beautiful artworks. This art was blessed by Rangitāne kaumātua Wiremu and Treiste Te Awe Awe along with their daughter, Nuwyne. It was an honour to have them support and guide us along our journey.

These stunning pieces of art, standing proudly in the social spaces of our kura, will provide our Kaiako with a tool to explore these stories with our tamariki. This is one step of many on our journey to commit to learning and developing the connection with our local history, land, and people of Rangitane at College Street Normal School.

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