Students’ public art work focuses on the overlooked flow


Broadgreen Intermediate students have installed artwork next to Poorman Valley Stream to celebrate the waterway near their school.  Students and teachers Vicki Smith, left, Liv Chapman, Valentina Howie, Lily Harrison, Emma Wilson, Ella Carter, Ella Harley, Kimi Bochung and Jeana Packer.

Martin De Ruyter / Tips

Broadgreen Intermediate students have installed artwork next to Poorman Valley Stream to celebrate the waterway near their school. Students and teachers Vicki Smith, left, Liv Chapman, Valentina Howie, Lily Harrison, Emma Wilson, Ella Carter, Ella Harley, Kimi Bochung and Jeana Packer.

Schoolgirl Kaylee Douglas is proud to have created something lasting, which connects her school to the land around it.

The Broadgreen Intermediate student was one of a group of Nelson School students, fixing carefully crafted artwork on a nearby roadside bridge after classes ended Wednesday.

Passers-by could have been forgiven for missing a stream running under the bridge on the busy road, where three schools sat side by side.

But it was hoped that the panels that now adorn the bridge would help change that.

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Broadgreen Intermediate students and teachers Liv Chapman, left, Emma Wilson, Ella Carter, Vicki Smith, Valentina Howie, Lientjie Uis, TJ Johnson, Kaylee Douglas, Jeana Packer, Samantha Douglas, Lily Harrison, Ella Harley and, Kimi Bochung with signs created by students.

Martin De Ruyter / Tips

Broadgreen Intermediate students and teachers Liv Chapman, left, Emma Wilson, Ella Carter, Vicki Smith, Valentina Howie, Lientjie Uis, TJ Johnson, Kaylee Douglas, Jeana Packer, Samantha Douglas, Lily Harrison, Ella Harley and, Kimi Bochung with signs created by students.

The artwork was one of many public exhibits created by children from the Stoke suburbs to celebrate Poorman Valley Stream, which runs from Marsden Valley to the Airport Peninsula.

Five schools and a kindergarten participated in the project to help people think about and care about the creek, as part of the Nelson City Council’s Healthy Streams initiative.

Artist Vickie Smith has been hired by the council to facilitate the artistic program.

He used the celebration of Matariki – the beginning or the Maori New Year – as a “framing concept,” she said.

“Matariki is a celebration of whānau and planning for the future.

“I hope the future of this stream will be better supported by the community around it.”

The stream was under pressure from sediment, toxic material washed down the sewer and garbage, she said.

Student Lily Harrison said the trash found in the creek included shopping carts.

“People don’t take care of natural things very well, they take them for granted,” said the grade 8 student, who lived by the creek.

She said that the natural environment takes care of us and we have to take care of it too.

Signs created by students from Broadgreen Intermediate and Nayland Elementary School, on the bridge across Poorman Valley Stream on Nayland Rd.

Martin De Ruyter / Tips

Signs created by students from Broadgreen Intermediate and Nayland Elementary School, on the bridge across Poorman Valley Stream on Nayland Rd.

Harrison was one of the many students who had helped elementary children at nearby Nayland School make two of the panels.

The artwork was made from perforated metal panels, donated by Community Artworks.

The designs were made by weaving strips of recycled PVC through holes on the boards, in the style of traditional Maori tukutuku weaving.

The designs included depictions of streams with eels and fish, whare, poutama or learning stages, and the constellation Matariki.

Art teacher Jeana Packer said the students “worked really hard,” devoting many hours after school and during breaks to complete the work.

Weaving four of the strips through a hole was no easy task, with students often having to use pliers, she said.

The school jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the project, which fit well with its school-wide investigation into kaitiakitanga, or guardianship and protection.

Council projects on the creek also included habitat restoration and a new trail along the waterway between Main Rd Stoke and Neale Ave.

Outdoor education and horticultural students at Nayland College participated in the planting along the creek, while art, science and math students contributed to the art exhibits, currently on display at the Stoke Library and in Putangitangi-Greenmeadows.

Children from various other schools also participated in the waterfront plantation, with a map showing where all the artwork and plantations were on display in Putangitangi-Greenmeadows.

Brightly painted plywood rounds, some with UV paint, were made and installed elsewhere along the river and on fences, by children at Nelson Christian Academy, Birchwood School and Nayland Kindergarten .


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