Hero photograph
The five house patrons

Journey of collaboration for new house images

Caroline Gill —

Students, staff, iwi and whānau from Tauranga Girls’ College have brought to life the school’s new houses, named after trail-blazing New Zealand women, through a unique community collaboration.

What started on a computer as photographs and images of Dame Whina Cooper, Kate Sheppard, Katherine Mansfield, Jean Batten, and Te Auetu Harata Hall are now digital masterpieces to be featured on banners and posters around the college.

The tick of iwi approval completes a fascinating journey.

The story started with Mahnoor Qadri from Year 12 who created a set of sketches for the prize-winning submission she and Annabel Robinson came up with to replace the existing houses which included physicist Lord Ernest Rutherford, and war hero Lord Bernard Freyberg, both males.

Mahnoor was inspired by the style of German artist Max Moser's work which she learned about in Year 9 Art.

The artistic technique of hatching creates tonal or shading effects by drawing closely spaced parallel lines. Mahnoor liked how this technique looked with ink and enhanced this with blocks of black to add contrast and give the images a more pop-art feel.

After winning the competition Mahnoor never imagined the portraits would be used for branding.

"I just did them as a part of our presentation, so I was really pleasantly surprised at the positive feedback.”

Taking these images off the page and bringing them to life digitally required a stroke of magic from a Year 12 peer, design student, Alysha Gill.

The initial sketches included on the house submission were too large for scanning so Alysha photographed the images and gave each of them a little ‘tender loving care’ using Adobe design products.

"I wanted to honour Mahnoor's work rather than manipulating the images too much," said Alysha.

Using design process skills learnt in Digital Media Art, Alysha used Photoshop and Illustrator to darken the lines and added contrast and shading as part of bringing each of the images to life digitally.

"I am absolutely amazed by Alysha's digitisation work; her processing of the ink is so clean and satisfying. I know getting details like that transferred can take time," said Mahnoor.

Both girls are excited about seeing their work come to life in the banners displayed around the school and on house days and want to harness the power of collaboration next year when they take up leadership roles.

Alysha will be one of the inaugural house leaders for Whina house and Mahnoor will be a Kaitiakitanga prefect.

Tumuaki Tara Kanji and Leader of Learning for Social Science Emma Talbot were also involved in the collaborative process with fact-checking and handling of the rights.

They were also instrumental in forming key partnerships with Ngāti Ranginui Education Sector education manager Toni Heke-Ririnui who also worked alongside Gail Matthews, the Granddaughter of Te Auetu Harata Hall and her whānau to ensure the narrative behind Te Auetu and the replication of her image was accurate. 

"This is collaboration and true partnership at its best!" says Tumuaki Tara Kanji.

Te Auetu Harata Hall of Ngāti Ranginui, was born at Huria Marae in the 1850s. She has strong family links to the land that Tauranga Girls' College now stands on and displayed great bravery as she accompanied her mother Matatu to Pukehinahina to aid wounded British soldiers in the wake of the Battle of Gate Pā at Pukehinahina on 29 April 1864.

Portraits of her were faded and blurry unlike the other patrons whose images have become familiar to generations of New Zealanders.

Appropriate colours have been chosen to tie in to the pāua shell palette and over the holiday period flags and banners have been created for the start of the school year.

The next stage of the house project will involve developing symbols for each of the houses.

House Flags — Image by: TGC

See the progression of the house images from photo - sketch - digital image in the photo gallery below.

Kate Sheppard — Image by: Caroline Gill
Katherine Mansfield — Image by: Caroline Gill
Jean Batten — Image by: Caroline Gill
Whina Cooper — Image by: Caroline Gill
Te Auetu Harata Hall