Total Colour Award winners

Totara School


From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery of entries

Resene Total Colour Awards 2017
Totara School

Totara School is a primary and intermediate school based five minutes south of Oamaru. It is one of the oldest schools in New Zealand and was first opened in 1883. The school has a strong and proud history with their motto being ‘standing proud, learning together’.

Totara was named that after the famous solitary Totara tree that grows at the site on a limestone terrace. The school rooms are also made out of limestone. While most schools face north so the sun shines around the school, Totara faces west, reasons unknown.

The Totara School logo and signage includes a dragon. Surrounding the school the area is rich in market gardeners, most since the 1950s have been Chinese, which is why the dragon is included in the brand.

The school principal and teacher engaged Design Federation for colour consultation on their exterior classroom buildings which they determined needed to reflect the vibrancy and positivity of their school as a whole. The brief was fun, bright and strong colours to bring a new life to their somewhat tired buildings. The school staff also wanted the colour palette to also be reflective of the age of the students, based around a primary and secondary colour scheme. The two classrooms were also named after key New Zealand icons, one after the Kowhai tree and one after the Kakariki bird so the colour palette had to represent that as well.

Fence artwork

A key challenge that needed to be addressed was the difficulty parents and students had finding their classrooms when they were just numbered. A colour palette was needed that would work together and provide assistance with locating the different spaces.

The reference for colour scheme was to establish the core primary colours that were going to be the centre of the scheme. Red, blue and yellow colours were chosen from Resene’s range to work coherently together, then pops of secondary and tertiary colours were added to provide some wow factor to the overall look.

The colour story begins as you arrive at the school in the carpark with a block fence painted in five bright bold colours that also work with the children’s colourful face murals located beside this area. The wall was prepared with Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat then topcoated in Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss waterborne enamel in hues of Resene Kakapo, Resene Buttercup, Resene Daredevil, Resene Red Berry and Resene Fascinator.

As the colour palette included bright and bold colours, their impact needed to be maximised while still working with the Oamaru stone façade of the buildings. To bring these together the window trims were finished in Resene Super Gloss Alabaster. The foundation of the classrooms also needed some definition, which was resolved by painting them in Resene Sonyx 101 tinted to Resene Foundry.

Arriving at the office block there is a large dragon mural on an opposing wall. Resene Red Berry was chosen to complement the mural and provide a bold welcome to the school.

Room 1 beside the office block was painted with Resene Kakapo, after the classroom theme of the native bird Kakariki. Female and male bathrooms based off this classroom were painted in Resene Super Gloss Optimist for the boys and Resene Irresistible for the girls.

For the library punchy and positive Resene Sonyx 101 in Resene Optimist brings vibrancy to this building.

School buildings
Wall Colours
School rooms

Classroom 3 is named Kowhai, reflected in an accent colour choice of Resene Sonyx 101 in bright yellow Resene Buttercup.

The Art and Technology room gave licence for added creativity resulting in a geometric diagonal pattern in Resene Lumbersider low sheen waterborne paint in Resene Daredevil and Resene Alabaster.

The Learning Room already had a mural on one side, now complemented with each side painted a different colour – one side in Resene Kakapo, one in Resene Buttercup and the last in Resene Optimist.

The Resource Room exterior was tongue and groove timber, and is now accented with Resene Lumbersider in the punchy Resene Fascinator.

The new colour palette has been received with positivity and happy students, reflecting the personality of the school and helping the children identify the classrooms by their colours.

Client: Totara School
Colour selection: Design Federation
Designer: Annabel Berry and Meghan Nockels, Design Federation
Painting contractor: A1 Decorators
Photographer: Rachel Wybrow Photography


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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.