Ruawai College has unveiled an intricate mural called The Legend of the Mountains on the Northern Wairoa River. It depicts the cultural legend of the five mountains and features the local environment.
The painting, designed by Keanu Marychurch-Townsend and painted by students of the school, is a pictorial of the legend of five mountains — a story, which remains as a reminder to look after younger siblings and friends when swimming and to never underestimate the power of rivers and oceans.
“The white flowing through the mural is a representation of the wairua of life flowing throughout the whenua, whether it be working, learning or travelling, everyone brings their own wairua to the lands, and it is up to us to protect and sustain our beautiful environment,” said college spokesperson, Helena Thompson.
The mountains are depicted with moko on their faces portraying that the mountains are chiefly and respected, the leaves are of the kumara which is prominent in the area and Kawakawa, which grows naturally in local forests and is a traditional plant for medicine.
The kauri, rimu and totara trees represent the school houses, and the birds relate to the houses at Ruawai Primary School.
The Wairoa River is drawn flowing from the northeast where it meets the blue waters of the Kaipara, with Ruawai where the brown and blue waters meet.
The Manaia is depicted as the seahorse from the Kaipara as it meets the tuna — eel, this is a portrayal of where the remains of the mountain Okiriaha now rests in the Wairoa River.