Explaining our Sandpit Mural

The West Coast is also known as Te Tai Poutini, 'the tides of Poutini', named after the Poutini, the taniwha who is kaitiaki – the guardian of pounamu, which comes mainly from the West Coast.

The pūrākau, or narrative, of Poutini, is a fascinating one, and one we teach to our students to connect them with their local area and culture.

Pūrākau are more than a story - they are a way of explaining and communicating other information in an oral way. So in our mural of Poutini, swimming up and down the West Coast as guardian, we wanted to show deeper information as well.

Explore what the different symbols represent, and watch our students' interpretation of the narrative of Poutini yourself, at the end.

Kahurangi Point Lighthouse is at the north western tip of the South Island

The Oparara arches are a natural feature near Karamea

Many seals are found at Cape Foulwind, near Westport

Punakaiki, or the Pancake Rocks, draw visitors from around the world

Lake Brunner is where we are! The railway goes past us into the mountains at Ōtira, where some of our students live

The clocktower is a Greymouth landmark, built in 1992 along the banks of the Māwhera River

The Arahura marae is the home of Ngāti Waewae. When you look at the marae, it also shows key figures in the Poutini pūrākau

According to the pūrākau, Waitaiki was turned into pounamu in the Arahura river by Poutini. Can you see her pounamu tears floating downstream?

Hokitika is known for its beautiful beach and driftwood sign

Gold represents Ross, a key gold mining town in the West Coast's history

Kōtuku from around NZ only breed every year near Whataroa - nowhere else!

Lots of farming is on the West Coast

The Franz Josef glacier is about 12km long

The Fox glacier is about 13km long. You can see great views of our highest mountain, Aoraki / Mt Cook, from here, also depicted in the painting

Crayfish represent Haast, which is classified as a world heritage area

Tall mountains, including the peaks at Piopiotahi / Milford Sound, are features of the southern part of the West Coast