Where art meets vegetables

St Peter’s Catholic School year 8 students Eden O’Leary (standing) and Valentina Di Maio (bottom left) and Lizzy Mathers (right) celebrate the mural they helped create with principal Anita Asumadu.

Germinated in the fertile imaginations of the St Peter’s Catholic School community, a creative idea has blossomed into a colourful artwork.

Principal Anita Asumadu is delighted with the school’s new garden mural, which capped off a year of work to transform an “ugly, underused space” – once home to the now-moved school hall – into a horticultural haven along the school’s back fence.

“We used to have four rotting, raised vege garden beds set in a dull, unused area of the school,” Anita said.

“There were weeds everywhere and it was very unwelcoming, so we decided to rejuvenate it.  It was a great way to get our parent community more involved in the school again after Covid.”

The idea quickly took root last year and parent Blair Littlejohn kicked it off by building and donating 10 new raised garden beds.  A “Dad’s Army” helped him position the beds, lay weed mat and ground cover and fill the gardens with soil and compost, Anita said.

Money for new seedlings was raised after teachers Heidi Littlejohn and Liz Sudfeldt encouraged families to donate excess fruit and vegetables from their home gardens for a roadside produce stall.

With the new horticultural area flourishing, plans to transform its uninspiring backdrop – a drab concrete block wall – began to sprout.

School whanau contributed about 25 designs, which parent artists Erin-Monique O’Brien, Harriet Di Maio, Nerina Sommerville and Elena Brambilla fused into the final concept.

Another parent, Daniel Cattle, donated paint and time to create the white background, and budding student artists chipped in to splash the concrete canvas with colour.

“We had a lot of fun,” 12-year-old Lizzy Mathers said.  “It took about six months from start to finish.  I think it’s quite cool because we got to paint it before we go to high school.”

Thirteen-year-old Valentina Di Maio agreed.  “It’s something we left behind,” she said.

Anita said the project was a credit to the staff, families and students involved.

“It’s projects like this that embody our Catholic values of respect for the environment and communion-coming together,” she said.

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