Upper Hutt City Council facilitates youth development project

Ten Upper Hutt College students presented to Upper Hutt City Mayor Wayne Guppy and invited Councillors and Council staff to visit a new mural they have installed on school grounds as part of a youth development project.  

UPPER HUTT, Wellington NZ, 29 FEB 2015—Young people reporting to stakeholders in Council Chambers isn’t something you see every day, but for ten capable, creative, and confident Upper Hutt College students, it was a ‘worthy’ end to a project facilitated by Upper Hutt City Council which both challenged and rewarded them.

The ten students have successfully installed a mural on Upper Hutt College grounds, having managed the entire project from start to finish.

After students opted in to the project, Council officers facilitated several project management workshops and provided advice and a guiding hand to the students, empowering them to identify all the tasks involved in the project and establish a critical path for milestones to be competed—the first of which was to identify a suitable site on school grounds to install the mural.

The first challenge of the project was coming up with ideas for the design concept. The students decided to consult the school community through a survey, asking staff and students to share their opinions on the proposed mural content. With this feedback, the group worked together to create the final design concept which they submitted to the Upper Hutt College Principal. Once permission was granted, preparation for painting began.

The group worked collaboratively with Council Officers and professional artist, Claire Rye to identify materials required, health and safety considerations, and other factors that would lead to the successful installation of the mural.

The students worked tirelessly to install the mural over a number of days, overcoming some unexpected challenges along the way. Mid-way through installation, the mural’s design was modified after discovering that some elements didn’t look as good on the wall as they had on paper. Rain and an uneven surface also presented challenges that had to be dealt with.

Involvement in the project enabled the students to broaden their skills in time management, working collaboratively, painting techniques, hazard identification, and responding to feedback.

“Teaching young people to learn and use leadership and other transferable skills in a real-world project with a positive impact is very important,” says Upper Hutt Mayor, Wayne Guppy. It shows young people that we believe in their ability and that they are a valued part of our city. These rangatahi demonstrated skills and confidence beyond their years.”

The mural is located on Upper Hut College School grounds and features elements of Upper Hutt’s natural surrounds, the ‘school cat’ and the school’s motto ‘be worthy’.

The mural project was made possible through the Ministry of Youth Development’s Youth Partnership Fund. The aim of the Youth Partnership Fund is to help young people develop skills, knowledge, and experience in order to participate confidently in their communities.

Special thanks to Upper Hutt College and its students: Louise Afele, Michaela Badenhorst, Anthony Delaney, Haylee Hailwood-Maddock, Reuben Johnson, Piper Morrison, Amy Reynecke, Caitlin Teague, Charmaine Walker, and Darcy Walker for their work on this project