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Lily Laita was an accomplished and celebrated artist and a dedicated, much loved teacher. As the first Pasifika woman to graduate from Elam School of Fine Arts she paved the way for many to follow in her footsteps. Te Papa holds a number of her works in their collection – a measure of her standing in the art world. Lily also featured on a Samoan stamp in 2004.

Lily taught at Western Springs College – Ngā puna o Waiōrea for more than 30 years. Her service to the school and its students began in 1992 and she was the Head of our Art Department from the mid 2000’s. Her dedication to education and her artistic brilliance touched countless lives. She loved to teach and bestowed her love of art on the many ākonga she inspired. 

Our Library Art Collection is part of Lily’s legacy, which now graces the walls of our cafeteria since the completion of the new school buildings.  Student commissioned artwork for the school library began in 2001.  Lily became heavily involved in the selection of students/ākonga to create art works with her guidance. The current collection reflects Lily’s inspirational support and is a wonderful celebration of the visual arts at Western Springs College – Ngā puna o Waiōrea.

It includes pop art drawing, traditional oil painting, tactile mixed media and computer generated digital manipulations.  A number of these students have careers in the creative industries as tertiary art lecturers, practicing artists, designers, architects and tattoo artists.



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