News | 15 May 2019
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Students’ Christchurch mural goes on display in Kilbirnie

The Wellington public will have a chance to view a mural commemorating the Christchurch mosque massacres before it moves to its permanent home.

Students from St Mary's College with the mural, Kia Kaha
Students from St Mary's College with mural Kia Kaha

Year 11 and 12 students from St Mary's College painted the mural, Kia Kaha, in response to the March 15 attacks.

Two months on it has gone on display in Kilbirnie’s Ruth Gotlieb Library. It will be moved to the Kilbirnie mosque at a later date.

“We consulted with various parts of the community about where the mural should go,” says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester.

“They told us the mosque was the appropriate place for it. However, we also wanted to share it wider so the Kilbirnie Library is the perfect place for now.”

The students say it was a labour of love and a heartfelt response to a deeply sad situation.

"Doing the mural gave me a sense of purpose and helped me feel a deeper sense of belonging at school,” says Year 11 student Lottie Keogh.

Year 12 student Hannah Dorey says the mural has made her think about the importance of community.

“For me the mural was not only a gift of love, but was also a statement to say that despite our different beliefs and religions we stand with all those who suffered from the Christchurch attack,” she says.

Art teacher Leila Goddard says hearing the girls’ reasons for creating the mural really drives home the fact that youth want meaningful educational opportunities that connect them to society as a whole. She adds that the students are very happy that the mural is to be displayed at the Kilbirnie library.

“It is important that the mural be viewed by the wider Wellington public and we hope it will spark conversation about the Christchurch attack,” Ms Goddard says.

“Our end goal has always been for the mural to be gifted to the Kilbirnie mosque, as it was intended as a gift of love and support for the Muslim community.

“What started out as a small project and means to process a tragic event, has now turned into a public gift of love for the many citizens of Wellington to appreciate, and for the Kilbirnie mosque to hold dearly on its walls.”

Around 15 students contributed to the artwork.