New Zealand school targeted by anti-Semitic vandals

December 21, 2017 by Keren Cook
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Mana has been restored at a North Island primary school New Zealand. 

Mana is especially important in Polynesian cultures and is a major part of contemporary Pacific Islander culture referring to prestige, authority, control, power, influence, status, spiritual power, charisma – mana is a supernatural force in a person, place or object. Animate and inanimate objects can also have mana.

For one New Zealand primary school, the restoration of Mana is a significant step towards progress.  Seven months ago the school was attacked by vandals who left a huge swastika made of piles of tyres on the school field and stole their Maori flag.

Last week, New Plymouth’s Moturoa School was presented with a sculpture symbolising peace, aroha and restoration.

The steel sculpture artwork stands at almost 1.5 metres in height.  A large green tiki made from steel was unwrapped in front of about 115 students and teachers.

It was an emotional moment and the gift comes seven months after vandals caused thousands of dollars of damage at the primary school.

The swastika symbol was a disturbing part of the attack and artist Albie McCarthy, of Tainui, Ngati Tuwharetoa and Ngati Hua descent, had read about the vandalism and felt compelled to help the school “restore its mana.”

The artist references the Maori legend where Mounga Taranaki moves from the centre of the North Island to the west coast to restore peace between feuding mountains.  Symbolically, from the central North Island, McCarthy viewed the tiki as following Mounga Taranaki’s journey of peace.

Moturoa School Principal Delwyn Riding said the swastika in the field was “bizarre” and the vandalism was unnecessary.

“It was annoying to see something like that had happened,” Mr Riding said.

“The people involved must have been desperate.”

The sculpture, titled Te Wa Ora Puna Te Rangimarie, is one piece in a series of work McCarthy had crafted.

The artist said it took about three weeks to complete and the piece would sit in the school’s office.

Teacher Rachel Ammundsen said the school felt overwhelmed by McCarthy’s gift.

“It was just such an incredible gesture that someone who had nothing to do with school and who doesn’t know us would be so affected by the hurt that was caused.”

Since the vandalism event, Ammundsen said the school had bounced back saying: “Our school motto is Together We Grow’ and that stands for gratitude, resilience, orderliness and wonder and so we’re focusing on being resilient,”



One Response to “New Zealand school targeted by anti-Semitic vandals”
  1. Samuel Terry says:

    I do not understand why the vandals have been labelled as “anti-Semitic”. Could you explain your headline, please?

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