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Apanui School is proud to have stunning artworks featured throughout our school.

We have consciously engaged local artists to create pieces to share our school pepeha (who we are and who we are connected to), history, and to tell our pūrākau (stories and legends) so that we can provide wonderful learning opportunities for our tamariki and Apanui whānau.

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Apanui Poutama pattern

Te Tatau ō ngā Tīpuna

Artist: Patrick Wana
Location: Entrance

Te Tatau ō ngā Tīpuna means Doorway of the Ancestors, and each pou (pillar/post) in our waharoa (entranceway) represents two of our tīpuna (ancestors).

On the top left is Irakewa, who was a great leader and voyager. He visited Kakahoroa (original name for Whakatāne) before the arrival of the Mataatua waka. 

On the bottom left is Tamatearehe,  who was the Paramount chief of Ngāti Awa in Whakatāne. Tamatearehe was a fearless warrior and a great orator and he spellbound people when he delivered his korero. 

On the top right is Māui Pōtiki, who is a legendary voyageur and discoverer. Many tribes / people can whakapapa (trace their ancestry) to Māui, including Ngāti Awa. 
There are many pūrākau (stories) of Māui and his adventures. Māui undertook his voyages in a waka called Nukutaimemeha. This waka now rests on the top of the Hikurangi maunga. 


On the bottom right is Tiwakawaka, who was a grandson of Māui. Tiwakawaka was one of the first explorers to settle in Kakahoroa (Whakatāne). Many of the rocks around Kohi Point are named after Tiwakawaka’s crew.

Apanui Poutama pattern


Artist: Designed by Megan Collins, created by Peter Collins
Location: Front door, Admin Block

This artwork shows:

  • The islands of Muake and Rarotonga

  • The Albatross (Toroa) using the stars to guide the Mātaatua waka on it's journey from Hawaiki to Aotearoa

  • You can see the whirlpool that almost swallowed the waka. Toroa saw the face of God during the storm and recited a karakia, saving the waka. Toroa then named the waka Mātaatua (Face of God)

  • The calm waters of Aotearoa and the three signs that Toroa had found Whakatāne; Wairere Falls, Muriwai's Cave and Irakewa Rock.

  • The sandspit across the Whakatāne river where Toroa is buried

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Apanui Poutama pattern

Te Hiku ō te Tohorā

Artist: Isaac Weston
Location: Reception, Apanui Administrative Block

Māori have a strong connection with whales. Most iwi believe that whales are descendants of Tangaroa (God of the sea) and that they are chiefly animals

Ngāti Awa people see whales as a spiritual guardian or kaitiaki of the oceans, seas and waterways. They bring messages from the spiritual world to humans.

They can also be interpreted as embodying wisdom and deep understanding. Their vast presence in the ocean and their ability to navigate great distances inspire a sense of profound knowledge acquired over time.

The Ngāti Awa pūrākau of Tahi ō te Rangi sees the tohunga (priest) calling upon the whale Tūtarakauika so that he could ride him and return from Whakaari (White Island) to Whakatāne.

There are many pūrākau (stories / legends) relating to whales in Te Āo Māori and other cultures. This includes Paikea the Whale Rider, The Legend of the Seven Whales, and Tinirau and his whale Tutunui.

Apanui Poutama pattern

He Manu Hōu Ahau, He Pī Ka Rere

Artist: Isaac Weston
Location: Te Hiko ō te Manu meeting room, Admin Block

Isaac Weston is a copper artist who is based in Tauranga. Isaac paints a mix of red wine vinegar and Himalayan pink salt onto the copper, then wraps the copper in tarpaulins and leaves it outside to let the magic happen.

It takes about six weeks for the colour to come out. Isaac never knows what colour is going to be created with each batch - the colours can be blues, greens and even black.

Isaac believes the colours depend on the temperature, seasons, amount of vinegar and salt, and how long the copper is wrapped for.

He then creates amazing art works by grinding, beating, shaping and cutting the copper.

This art work is located in our meeting room called Te Hiko ō te Manu which is in our Administration Block.

Apanui Poutama pattern

Ake Runga - Tāwhaki

Artist: Bryce Sheedy
Location:  Reception, Apanui Administrative Block

Our school vision is "Ake Runga".  This comes from the journey of Tāwhaki.  At Apanui we define Ake Runga as striving to reach the top, to always give our best and to reach for the stars.

Tāwhaki was born in Whakatāne. Tāwhaki was part human and part God.  He was a fearless warrior, a visionary and a great leader.  Tāwhaki is the manifestation of lightning and thunder.

According to Ngāti Awa tradition, Io (the Supreme Being) chose Tāwhaki to climb the vine of knowledge, ascend through the ten heavens to receive the four baskets of knowledge.  The vine grew out of the ground at Otuawhaki (where the Whakatāne Information Centre is now).

Tāwhaki began to climb with his brother Karihi. It was a difficult task. At one stage, Karihi grabbed the wrong vine and fell to his death. This gives us a message about the importance of staying focused and on the right path.

When Tāwhaki reached the top of the vine he faced one further challenge; a battle, Te Pai Rangi.  This was to ensure that he was the right person to receive the baskets of knowledge.

Rehua then presented Tāwhaki with the four baskets:

  • Whēkite - Spiritual knowledge

  • Whēkaro - All knowledge that we learn while we are on earth

  • Te Werohia - knowledge to allow us to investigate, analyse and reflect

  • Te Whakairihia - the ability to apply your knowledge

Tāwhaki climbed down the vine, returning to earth and building the first house of knowledge "Wharekura".

Apanui Poutama pattern

Ngā Ātua

Artist: Jinan Dodd
Location: End of Kākāpō 5

Jinan Dodd is an artist and musician from Whakatāne, New Zealand. He enjoys painting in a cubist style and takes influence from the likes of George Condo and Pablo Picasso. 

This mural depicts the Atua (Maōri Gods) of Ngāti Awa represented in either human, natural or energy form. Dr Pouroto Ngaropo provided the information about the Atua.

1. Io - The Supreme Being

2. Ranginui - The Sky Father

3. Papatūānuku - The Earth Mother

4. Tāne-Mahuta - God of forests and birds

5. Tangaroa - God of the Sea / All forms of water

6. Tāwhirimātea - God of Weather / Wind

7. Haumie-tiketike - God of Uncultivated Food (fern shoot)

8. Rongomātāne - God of Cultivated Food (kumara plant)

9. Rūaumoko - God of Earthquakes / Underground Forces

10. Tūmatauenga - God of War / Hunting

11. Whiro - God of negativity (darkness)

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Apanui Poutama pattern

Ngā Kaitiaki

Artist: Peter Collins
Location:  Outdoor stage

A stunning representation of our local moutere (islands) Moutohorā and Whakaari, and our local maunga (mountains) Tarawera and Pūtauaki.

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