The latest group exhibition at Whanganui Community Arts Centre features around 100 paintings, prints and photographs by young local artists.

Students from Whanganui High School, Whanganui Girls College, UCOL Whanganui and Rangitikei College have completed works that focus on Pākaitore - its history and its monuments.

Although they were not born when Pākaitore/Moutoa Gardens was occupied in protest by Whanganui iwi for 79 days in 1995, Whanganui High School art teacher Graham Hall said students researched the recent and older history of the riverside parkland.

"It's been really interesting for them to learn about the land and its history.


"Their responses have been pretty amazing."

While some works focus on The Weeping Woman - New Zealand's oldest war memorial, others portray soldier Herewini Whakarua whose likeness stands atop the World War I monument at Pākaitore.

Joan Morrell's Protection in Adversity bronze sculpture has also been interpreted in a number of the works while others address the grievances that engendered the 1995 occupation.

Some of the works address the broader concerns of colonisation and its impacts on indigenous people from a global perspective.

The collaborative exhibition is an annual event between schools and Hall said it is a rewarding experience for teachers and students alike.

The exhibition is open for viewing at the Community Arts Centre, 19 Taupō Quay, 10am until 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am until 1pm on Saturday.