It started with a mat-time story about a whale and her baby, and turned into three elaborate murals for the Community Kindy in Welcome Bay.
Community Kindy The Bay had three murals designed by Auckland mural and graffiti artist Jonny 4 higher, which was funded by BestStart.
The murals are inspired by the local Maori legend ‘The Three Whales' that was told by the kaumatua of Nga Potiki at the kindy.
‘The Three Whales' tells the story of a whale and her baby swimming through the Tauranga harbour and stopping at Karikari on the eastern shore of Rangataua.
The whales are then enticed by a sacred spring, which turns them into a small hill beside Mangatawa on the Papamoa side.
The father, looking for his family, endures the same fate and turns into a mountain south of Mangatawa called Kopukairoa.
Community Kindy The Bay manager Jayne Vuglar says the children love the new murals and enjoyed learning about how the mountains came to be.
“When I saw that we had a few blank fences I thought it would be quite nice to brighten up our kindy,” she says.
She says she thought the legend would be perfect as it represents the area and the children could learn about Tauranga's legends.
"We wanted something unique in our kindy environment that represented and respected our local area".
The kindergarten had a special ceremony to unveil the three new murals, where family and two members from Nga Potiki and Ngati Puukenga Colin Reeder and John Ohia joined to tell the legend and give a blessing.
The children also sang some kapa haka songs and had a shared kai.