Helen Clark, Ernest Rutherford, Lorde, Billy T James, Kate Sheppard, Jonah Lomu, Jean Batten, Murray Ball, Eliza McCartney, Sam Neill and Maria Tutaia.

All of these names share at least two things in common with each other.

One is that they are all inspirational New Zealanders.

The other is that they all feature in new murals designed by arts students at Whanganui Intermediate School.


Kaitlin Dew, 12 and 16 other students took part in the project.

"Our mural has New Zealand heroes on it, people who we aspire to be like," Kaitlin said.

"It also shows all of the values we want to have through words."

Surrounding the well-known Kiwis are words and phrases such as 'kia kaha, responsibility and show kindness.'

Kaitlin got involved in the project while doing service in the class of Whanganui Intermediate's head of art Stacey Hildrith.

"I did service and it turned out to be painting, in class I've never actually done any art and I'm like an art freak, it's basically my happy place," Kaitlin said.

"Everyone wanted to work on it, at one point it was like 'no you have to go over there and do some other work' because we were all trying to crowd around one board."

A closer look at one of the new murals fastened on to a Whanganui Intermediate School classroom. Photo / Supplied
A closer look at one of the new murals fastened on to a Whanganui Intermediate School classroom. Photo / Supplied

The murals took two terms to complete and involved designing layers on a computer, then printing them and blowing them up larger with an overhead projector.


From there, the designs were traced with pencil, the layers were painted and images of the famous faces were added, along with the text.

Throughout the process, students learned some techniques using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

"Now that we've finished, I miss it quite a bit, it was something to look forward to, I'd get through a learning block and then I'd be able to go and paint," Kaitlin said.

"It makes me feel good knowing I was a part of this."

Hildreth said that she had wanted to make some new murals for a long time.

"We had some really old murals up there, probably from the 70s I would have thought, they were a bit lacking in sophistication.

"We wanted to express our school values in a more visual way, rather than just talking about them in the classroom environment."

Hildreth takes morning classes that are compulsory for students and afternoon ones which they can opt-in to.

Students learn and participate in things like photography, screen printing and of course, mural painting.

"We've been getting really positive feedback, which is awesome. We haven't had our open day yet, so it will be interesting to hear what the visitors have to say," Hildreth said.

"I'm so proud of the kids, the dedication they showed and the way that they worked together was awesome."

Hildreth said they would look at doing some more murals, possibly for the front of the school next year.