This exhibition is a showcase of shared stories and powerful portraits and is the result of an intergenerational multicultural project by students at Bruce McLaren Intermediate School with residents of Henderson’s Wilsher Village and Vision Waitakere Gardens.
The students selected the exhibition title based on the proverb “It takes a whole village to raise a child”, which reflects the care-taking role of the extended whanau/family, neighbours, and the wider community as participants in a child’s journey to adulthood.
The project process is illustrated in the snap-shot of the students working with the residents and enjoying the social connection made at the Villages.
Under the guidance of photographer Liz March, students learnt the skills of photography; composition, lighting, framing a shot, and selection of a final print for exhibition. The children also explored their understanding of older people in their community, and had conversations which bridged the generation gap. Oral historian Sue Berman worked with students as they learnt the art of asking questions, and of the importance of listening, and from these experiences they have recorded their reflections and information as narrative statements which support their portraits of residents. A sample of poems alongside some of the thank-you letters written to residents shows another layer of the student’s work.
Students have leant new skills, broadened their experiences and both generations have forged new friendships and connections. The children and residents have enriched each others lives and in turn have created a rich documentary resource of images and text that will be stored at the library for future generations.
We hope you enjoy this exhibition and perhaps it will inspire you to have conversations with your neighbours, your whanau/family, and your kaumātua/elders and rangatahi/young people.
Sue Berman, Oral Historian, Auckland Libraries - Tumu Kōrero Hītori-a-Waha, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries
Liz March Photographer
Wendy Claire, Community Development Worker for Older Adults, Auckland Council
Thank you to the participating residents of Wilsher Village and Vision Waitakere Gardens; Matua Stan Kukutai; Jun Li and Yen Shuju who translated on behalf of Chinese residents who have more recently made Wilsher Village their home; Geoff Emmitt, Room 3 teacher at Bruce McLaren Intermediate School; McLaren Park Henderson South Community Initiative (MPHS) who were the grant holder from Auckland Council Creative Communities; the generous support of Derek March, Homestead Picture Framers and Kelston Digital Photos.
Photos taken during the students visits to the the two villages.
Photos of the exhibition held in the JT Diamond Reading Room, West Auckland Research Centre from 3 May to 29 May 2012.
The West Auckland Research and Heritage team enable access to local history, reference and special collections . Through the JT Diamond Reading room you are able to access Maori land court minutes, historical photographic collections, manuscripts, oral history recordings, newspapers, ephemera, local history publications, family history research tools and community archives.
Please feel free to contact us with any enquires.
West Auckland Research Centre is located on level 2 of the Waitakere Central Library in Henderson.
Call the Local History desk on 301 0101 x 7505.