Saturday, 06 June 2020


Tagging at Mercury Bay Area School and the Whitianga CBD

On Wednesday evening last week, graffiti was sprayed all around Mercury Bay Area School as well as in Monk Street in the Whitianga CBD. Fortunately the new murals in the CBD were left untouched.

MBAS head students, Gabriel Asquith and Olivia Clague, said that the tagging has had a profound impact on everyone at the school, but as a result, a feeling of unity was expressed among the student body. “The unnecessary and hurtful actions of the perpetrators brought a grim atmosphere upon our school,” they said. “The students were united in their strong feelings of revulsion and upset.”

Several students spoke about the graffiti at a whole school assembly on Thursday morning. “Not cool, not brave, not respectful,” one year 13 students said.

Gabriel and Olivia said that the feelings expressed by this student was perpetuated among everyone, especially as the tagging goes directly against the KAURI values of MBAS - kindness, achievement, unity, respect and identity.

“We all felt the needless and distressing acts committed on Wednesday evening were saddening, disappointing and, most of all, undeserving. We hope that everyone can take something from this experience and learn from it, to understand the impacts of your actions on others,” they said. “It is important we do not let this bring us down and that we continue to grow as people with a positive mindset throughout our school and community.”

MBAS principal, John Wright, said that MBAS has never experienced graffiti like this before and the students and are deeply disturbed by the events.

At the whole school assembly on Thursday, John spoke of reinforcing the school’s KAURI expectations and values and of the aroha that sits in the kura (school) between the staff and students. “Graffiti like this is a violation - a violence - just like physical, emotional, verbal and now written violence,” he said.  

“We see it all around us, but when it comes home to us in a kura like ours, it hurts us deeply. This is not what we want in, nor believe in, our kura. We have an incredible group of students and dedicated staff, and when something like this occurs we are deeply disturbed. This is our safe place - our place of learning and growth. For our staff this is where we practice our deep held beliefs of supporting our young people to be their best - again and again and again, and we see this in our fantastic young people.”

All the students who spoke at the whole school assembly talked about their sadness, hurt, anger and upset and how they wanted to fix the graffiti themselves so that the school did not suffer such degradation.

 “This incident taught me once again what a remarkable school we have - all of our wonderful young people and staff uniting together,” said John.

Sergeant Andrew Morrison of the Whitianga Police said some security footage of the tagging has been obtained and a local suspect was initially identified, but has since been cleared. Enquires are continuing in relation to two other suspects who have been identified from the security footage.

Pictured: Some of the graffiti that was sprayed at Mercury Bay Area school on Wednesday evening last week. We have blurred the details of the graffiti out as The Informer is not a vehicle for providing perpetrators who are capable of doing this with any kind of identity.


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