Beloved teacher memorialised in library mural

After several years without a library, West Harbour Primary School seized an opportunity to convert a former classroom into one early this year. And a grant from the Massey Community Fund provided the means to decorate the new library's exterior with a breath-taking literature-themed mural painted by an artistic parent.

Lucia Laubscher, who has three children at West Harbour Primary, took around six weeks to sketch, outline and paint the intricate design across two of the exterior walls. The final work features books and characters from classic and contemporary children's literature including The Cat in the Hat, Captain Underpants, Harry Potter and Gangsta Granny. The mural also memorialises Sisi Titi, a teacher in charge of the former classroom who passed away, as well as Tama, the school dog who graced West Harbour Primary for over 15 years.

Assistant Principal Heather Howe, who applied for the funding, explained that the mural means more to the school than a bunch of colourful book characters.

"Our Whare Pukapuka is truly one-of-a-kind. The mural is a real talking point for our students, whose eyes light up as they recognise The Lorax on top of a book or Hairy Maclary and his friends running along the top of the windows," Heather said. "During the painting process, we had students who would sit during their break times and watch the mural unfold."

"Some of the books feature our school values, which keeps them prominent and visible. It is also wonderful to honour Sisi, who made such a valuable contribution to the school, on the wall of the room she taught in. She sits atop a very special book titled Faletusi (the Samoan word for Library) reading a book called 'A Wonderful Life'. “

The inclusion of Sisi in the mural means a lot, not only to the students that knew her and recognise her on the wall of what used to be her classroom but also to her family who officially opened the library last term. They were honoured to have her memory immortalised in the mural.

The Massey Community Fund grant was used to purchase paint and other art supplies, including anti-graffiti coating to protect the mural for years to come.

Massey Matters