Little River has a beautiful new mural created by local artist Frankie Bakker and pupils from Little River School.

It’s been a long but rewarding process for the artist, who started last year by gaining permission from the school and Year 4/5 teacher Tara Sutherland.

Miss Bakker met with the class in February, showing them her Pop-Up Penguin (which raised $17,500 for the Cholmondeley Children’s Centre) along with another mural she’d created at a zoo in Japan.

After showing them a picture of the blank wall at the tennis club opposite the school, she asked for their ideas. The pupils worked in pairs with paper and pencil while Miss Bakker moved around and talked to them about what they were drawing.

She then spent many hours creating a design based on those ideas, before scanning final copies for each pupil to take home and colour in.

The Christchurch City Council anti-graffiti team provided her with paint and for the past five weeks Miss Bakker's been busy creating, helped by funding from the Banks Peninsula Community Board and Creative New Zealand.

Because the school is right next door the children have been able to see the mural changing each day.

Mrs Sutherland says it’s been “an unforgettable experience” for her class.

“Frankie encouraged the children to free their inner artist and let go of the need to be 'perfect'- no idea was too crazy and everyone's contribution was valued!

“When we thought back on the experience, the pupils said they loved ‘working together, choosing what to do for the mural, picking the colours and knowing it’s our own work on the wall and it will stay there for a long time.’”

Once the finishing touches have been added (including glow-in-the-dark-paint for the morepork’s eyes) a community unveiling will be held at the site.

A second mural on the other side of the wall has been planned out by Miss Bakker and the pupils and will be painted in the springtime.