The Opening Of Smiths Ave

by Neihana Lowe

A year long journey with community, understanding their aspirations for the Smiths Ave Reserve. TSI, Community Empowerment, Local Board, Te Whaanau Hapori, ManUp, Legacy, and key members of the community have worked collaboratively to create activations on site.

The AROHA Mural Project was a significant kaupapa as it modelled what we can achieve when we all come together. Established internationally renowned artists as well as local artists came together to koha their mahi -showing the community they are loved and that people do care. We started at Papakura Marae and received the blessing of manawhenua and throughout this entire project we have held in the highest esteem Pukekiwiriki, Pahurehure and manawhenua. The importance of story and place was shared by Kaumatua Dr Haare Williams and Matua Taame Iti. The artwork was directed by the stories told about our unique area of Papakura.

The refurbishment of the hall interior was completed recently and again community stepped up to contribute their time to paint, sew, clean and most of all share korero and laughter.

Matariki is a time to pause and reflect on the year passed, to celebrate life and to look towards the future positively with the guidance of our tupuna.

Today marked a momentous point in time for not only the Smiths Ave Community but also the wider Papakura community - as we acknowledged the maunga, the awa, manawhenua, the people, the land and the history - including Farmer Smith and the many netball players who spent their Saturday mornings at the courts.

The blessing of the space and the blessing of the people under the watchful eye of Matariki will see us flourish as a community united by AROHA.

The Corner