Saturday, June 27, 2009

School's In!

Nuhaka. May 2009. Ajr
Nuhaka is a tiny dot of a town – a village really; 350 people – about 32 kilometres from Wairoa in Eastland. Village life centres around the magnificent Kahungunu Marae that I wrote about here a couple of weeks ago. Across the road from the marae on Ihaka Street is this terrific little school – Nuhaka School, which has its origins in the Nuhaka Native School that was established here in 1898.

Nuhaka, May 2009. Ajr
Today it has around 138 pupils and they were all in class when I stepped through the gate to take these photographs. I LOVED it! So colourful and bright. That’s one of the aspects of life in Eastland that I loved the most – there’s colour and pattern and traditional Maori design in every town, in every settlement. They’re proud of their cultural traditions obviously and they haven’t white-washed their communities. Excellent murals abound, often mixed with graffiti, giving settlements a ‘personalised’ character that speaks loudly of their culture. I live in Christchurch where, with a few rare exceptions, citizens seem anxious about anything that even faintly resembles graffiti, or street art. Ridiculous really, because there is no escaping culture – even street culture; and perhaps if it was allowed a wider sweep within the Christchurch streetscape, the visual climate of the city would be a good deal richer. Anyway…enough rambling about street art…Nuhaka School is just the best!

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