Our OPS Sculpture

Onehunga Primary School Sculpture

We are excited to be able to showcase this very special art work as one of the first things we see as we walk into the foyer of our new building. 

The Story…

A totara tree frames the beginning of life's path, rooted firmly in the earth, branches and leaves stretching towards the light. 

The manaia (seahorse) as a symbol of Onehunga (people of the beach) is the kaitiaki (guardian) and instructor, his hand on his full puku (belly) showing ‘plenty’. The manaia's woven lower body and tail flow out into the plaited strands of many different cultures and races, bringing diverse gifts of knowledge and their fruits of culture and story telling.

Under the tree and manaia are the koru, representing the children and students, nurtured growth, new beginnings and future hopes unfurling to fruition. Above is Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) with the hand representing the original tangata whenua, Wai Ohua, holding a tokotoko, a symbol of communication and listening.

Between the strands of the Manaia's tail are fruits and flowers, fish and animals from around the world, the gifts of our planet earth and the sea.

Many different people from around the world have journeyed across the sea to Onehunga, New Zealand. The middle woven strands flow into and out from the frigate bird, a symbol of migration across the Pacific Ocean to Aotearoa, New Zealand.

We have male and female Polynesian symbols - taro, lily leaves, turtle, frigate bird and frangipani flower to represent our Pacific Island neighbours. There are pears, tulips, grapes, citrus and scotch thistle, from Great Britain, Italy, Holland and Europe; bananas from Ecuador and South America; an elephant from the African continent; a lotus from India; and a dragon from the Asian continent. 

A  New Zealand icon, the kiwi, is present, along with the fish, gift of the sea from Onehunga. 

Framing the opposing end is a palm tree of the Pacific set on a background of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Onehunga Primary School would like to acknowledge :

Pacific Development and Conservation Trust for their donation for the project

Trevor Heighway  - Sculptor

All school BOT, staff, whānau & children who have worked to make this artwork reality.