Rotorua | New Zealand


Mere Kanea Taonga

Thursday, September 14th, 2023 in News.

John Paul College was honored to be given permission from the descendants of Mere Kanea to have her image painted and hung with the rest of our school icons in our gymnasium.
Zara O’Neill was a Year 13, a School Prefect, and our Art Captain last year, 2022, when she accepted the honor of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to paint Mere Kanea. Zara started this journey in late 2022. She is now studying for a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design in Auckland. In August this year, Zara informed us that the painting of the Tūhourangi Ngāti Wahiao Mareikura (Maiden) was finished. We were so excited to hear this news.
On the 30th of August, JPC, the whānau of Mere Kanea, and iwi representatives welcomed Zara and her respective whānau into the ERC so she could present her final art piece to the school. It was a very emotional event and a proud moment for all involved.
The spirit of Mere Kanea has been waiting for a long time for the right person to show her love and passion for her people, her faith, and the future.
The beautiful taonga that Zara painted was blessed by kaumatua. It now hangs in the ERC, where it will forever remain, protecting the students and staff of JPC with the rest of our school icons.
Finally, we would like to personally thank Helen Becket for allowing us this wonderful opportunity and trusting us to have Mere Kanea watch over us all at JPC.
Nga mihi
Matua Wharekahika Clarke
Thank you to Rod Hill for the stunning photographs of this important occasion.