It was a memorable day for staff and pupils at St Kevin’s College last Wednesday when Cuban ambassador Mario Alzugaray Rodriguez visited the school.
Accompanied by his wife Elizabeth and their son Mauricio, Mr Alzugaray Rodriguez officially opened a photography exhibition at the school.
The exhibition consisted of pictures taken by a group of photography pupils while they were on a trip to Cuba earlier this year.
The trip was organised by geography teacher Michelle Buckham, who wanted to give pupils an experience where they could learn about Cuban culture and people.
The group took part in activities including snorkelling in the Bay of Pigs and walking through preserved military trenches from the days of the Cuban missile crisis.
On their trip, they also supported residents of Baracoa, a city in western Cuba devastated by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, by giving them supplies donated by the St Kevin’s school justice awareness group.
The ambassador said he was delighted with the hospitality of pupils.
“I feel fantastic – it’s very difficult to explain – the kids have done a fantastic job.”
Mr Alzugaray Rodriguez and his family were welcomed with an assembly, followed by a lunch and the exhibition, which was held in the Redcastle building.
He said he was impressed with the exhibition and believed the pupils had grasped the “real Cuba” in their works.
“They have learned how to appreciate the difference in the way of living between Cuba and New Zealand,” he said.
“They have done a great job in bringing the countries together. Look at the photo exhibition – it’s every aspect of Cuban life.”
During the exhibition he also presented an artwork of Havana as a gift to the school.
Mr Alzugaray Rodriguez said he was also keen to exhibit the pupils’ works at the Cuban Embassy in Wellington.