DressSmart and Onehunga Primary School children

Dress Smart Celebrates motherhood Through Art

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3 May 2023

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Dress Smart Auckland is celebrating Mother’s Day this year by partnering with our local school, Onehunga Primary, to find out from tamariki just what modern motherhood looks like to them. Ākonga were invited by Dress Smart to paint or draw the special person they want to celebrate and have it displayed in Dress Smart’s first ever Art Exhibition, one that seeks to showcase just how ‘motherhood’, and the makeup and language around whānau in 2023, looks very different to what it once did.

Dress Smart ran a number of art sessions with the school, providing art supplies and ‘mum’ assistance to help with the creations, and also to answer some short questions about their māma. The Art Exhibition takes over a large wall-space inside Dress Smart with a QR code to scan to find out more about some of the special people represented.

“In Aotearoa we see significant diversity in what a ‘whānau’ is, and who the very important and influential women in our tamariki’s lives are. Often our tamariki don’t see that in books, online or in the media. That’s why activities like this are so important,” says Viki Holley, Principal at Onehunga Primary School.

DressSmart and Onehunga Primary School children

“Our tamariki might have a mum, a whānau member, two mums, a close whānau friend, or an amazing dad, or sometimes a very lucky teacher who fills that role. Some have a ‘mum’ but many children don’t use that word – they have a 阿媽, māma, fa’ee or tinā. And while there are many differences, this art exhibition shows we all have one thing in common – we all love our tamariki very much.”

Dress Smart representative, Chanel Areta, agrees: “We know the important role that mums, grandmothers, mum-figures (and absolutely dads and other men!) play in the lives of whānau. We’ve had such a wide range of responses and we’re so proud to present their hard work to you.” The ‘Meaning of Mum’ Art Exhibition is on display inside Dress Smart from 1 May to 21 May with people encouraged to come along to show their support – and to learn more about the amazing stories behind these important people.

“Mums matter. For many tamariki and rangatahi that looks different to what it used to and it’s incredibly important for them to see that they and their whānau matter. We are really honoured to be able to play a small role in making that possible.”

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