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Whare iti
Photo by Carolyn Sutherland

West Melton School whare-iti

Carolyn Sutherland —

Refurbishment and repaint...

Kia ora koutou katoa

Our little whare-iti (Māori hut outside Ti Kōuka) is due for a refurbishment and repaint - some learners will be helping repaint and redecorate the building over the coming months.

The little hut has been on the current West Melton School site since the early days of the West Melton Village settlement, over 100 years ago, and has been used as a playhouse by children at various locations around the school ever since.

In the 1990’s the hut was refinished and painted to reflect our local cultural history - with weaving panels and a large mural of the West Melton landscape on the interior walls. Taumutu kaumatua Denise Sheat had visited the school and retold the local legend that the sun always shone through a ‘hole in the sky’ onto West Melton, even when it was raining and overcast in surrounding areas.

The outside was also painted with pictures of the myth of Maui and decorated with carved wooden panels with the guidance of Cath Brown, a Taumutu artist who has now passed on. We believe some of the current parents in our community may have been part of this historic project and we would love to hear your stories about it, if you remember being part of the project at the time.

After a blessing at a large ceremony involving the school community, the whare-iti was then moved to her current location at the heart of the school where she has sat for over 20 years. There has been ongoing landscaping to the surrounding garden that has been designed to incorporate several of the local species that our learning communities are named after.

If you have information (or photos) to share of the whare-iti from previous years, please email carolyn@westmelton.school.nz