Five new murals designed and painted by Rotorua school children are now ready to be marvelled at by tourists and locals alike at Rotorua Airport.

This is the third set of murals to be displayed on the terminal, as part of a joint project between the airport, Rotorua Lakes Council and local primary schools.

The murals were unveiled by Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick on Tuesday.

The five community schools involved this year are St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Malfroy Primary School, Aorangi Primary School, Glenholme Primary School and Rotorua Primary School.


Since the project's inception in 2013, about 500 children from 15 different primary schools have been involved in designing and painting the murals.

Rotorua Lakes Council community arts advisor and mural artist Marc Spijkerbosch has been overseeing and facilitating the process since the first murals went up in 2013.

For the current set of murals, Marc started working with the students earlier this year, with the pupils submitting their ideas and drawings to tell their schools' unique stories and share 'what's cool about this school'.

"I really enjoy working with the kids – you can see the pride on their faces when they see what they have created, and when the murals go up the whole world gets to enjoy them."

Marc, together with Helen English and Design Tank artists Maria Marshall and Glenys Courtney-Strachan, collated the individual designs into a single mural design for each school.

The final designs were transferred onto the aluminium mural panels ready for the children to paint.

"The designs and ideas belong entirely to the kids and all five murals are completely individual – it's important the artworks tell their stories, from their perspective."

He says the resulting murals share stories of some of Rotorua's rich cultural heritage and spectacular natural environment, as well as brightening up the city's airport.

Steve says visitors to the airport do look at and see the murals.

"Now they know they are coming into a beautiful bilingual and bicultural community in Rotorua, and that's an important story to tell."

Rotorua Airport chief executive Mark Gibb says thank you to the pupils for the mahi which has gone into these wonderful murals.

Malfroy Primary School pupil Neveiah Te Tuhi, 11, says he enjoyed getting to paint out of class and that it felt special to see it on display.

Malfroy Primary School pupil Shaydaleen Michaels, 11, says it feels great to have the mural up.

"You get to see all the hard work you put into it."

Aorangi Primary School pupil Ashanti Mercep, 11, says it was fun painting and it was great it was at the airport for everyone to see.

Aorangi Primary School pupil Tyler Donoghue, 11, says it felt great to see the mural up, and it turned out better than he expected.

Design Tank artist Glenys says the pupils did their own drawings and they made sure that magic wasn't lost when transferring the designs.

"Maria and I are so happy their work is up in public at an international arena."

Principal of St Mary's Catholic Primary School David MacMillan says it has been a wonderful opportunity for their tamariki to not only express their artistic abilities, but also their sense of place within the community.

With around 30 primary schools in and around Rotorua, all will have the opportunity to be involved.

Murals are refreshed every two to three years and those that are taken down are returned to their respective schools for ongoing display.