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Young Kaikohe mum’s mural a demonstration of determination

Young Kaikohe mum’s mural a demonstration of determination

By Pania Moulton (NorthTec Applied Writing graduate)
30 January 2014

A young mum of Ngati Mahia and Ngati Awa heritage has proven that you can gain a degree, a diploma, paint a mural and raise a family of seven children all at the same time.

Te Rina Mana-Tukaha - a recent graduate of Bachelor of Visual Arts with NorthTec in 2013 -- and now graduating with a diploma in Secondary school teaching with Auckland University this year has been part of the “Mural for Heroes” Kaikohe community project 2013.

While doing practicum experience at Northland College 2013, she was invited to be a part of the community project directed by Chris Wilkies – Ngapuhi Heroes. Te Rina chose Wihongi as her hero.

In her first year of studies at NorthTec she was lucky to work alongside Allen, while part of the photographic team for Ngapuhi festival and covering the Maori Sports Dinner and the art exhibition during the week. During this time she got to witness him at work and found out that they were related by blood. Wihongi is artist, educator (formerly taught Applied Arts at Northland Polytechnic) and a passionate advocate for the development of Ngapuhi Iwi.

For the project Te Rina was working on a panel with two others, painting their heroes. At no one time did all three work on the panel together. The painting fitted in around work and family commitments. These lovely panels are in Kaikohe just off the main drag and not far from New World store. You can see many Ngapuhi heroes from past and present in a beautiful tribute to great tribal heroes -- well worth a look at next time you are passing through Kaikohe.

Te Rina started her Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2009, finished in 2012 and graduated March 2013. She found her time at NorthTec very flexible which fit in with family, made it easy to study, working to reasonable deadlines and the tutors very approachable.

Her advice to others is if she can do it then you can too, “but you must be organised, have good time management, balance your life around your family and study, have great family support and enjoy your course, “Te Rina says. Te Rina is hoping to gain employment in Northland as a Secondary School Arts Teacher.

“So follow your passion, you don’t know where it may lead you to in the future.”


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