Te Mahia School is a vibrant small rural school situated 65 kilometres north-east of Wairoa. It provides education for 57 students in Years 1 to 8. The contributing community is mainly Māori, with two small groups of Cook Island Māori and New Zealand European/Pākehā residents. The school roll reflects this composition. The school is strongly supported by community members, many of whom have whānau connections. Parents, extended family and iwi provide support for students and their learning, and are a constant presence in the life of the school. 3 years ago the structure embraced the Enviro School Kaupapa and developed multiple activities around gardening, waste management and sustainability etc. A shade house was erected in 2011 as part of a HBRC and Genesis funding project. Native plants are grown by the students and planted in a nearby wetland in Opoutama managed by the NZ Native Forests Restoration trust. The school has demonstrated a real interest and commitment to sustainability.
In 2013, the community felt that the school children had to be involved in the restoration programme as part of a long term succession plan. Since then our local marae and the community are the drivers behind a comprehensive environmental programme developed by tangata whenua and Te Mahia school. This programme aims at transferring local knowledge around Matauranga Maori themes (water monitoring, Rongoa, carving, weaving, planting trees etc.) in order to forge the next generation of Kaitiaki. Eleven workshops are run by local kuia and Kaumatua who take a real pleasure in passing on their knowledge and teaching their young Tamariki. This project is also about catalysing the change and reaching out to the children’s family and whanau.
2- Learning outcomes for the project :
• To develop a new reflection on sustainable land management practice within their catchment, identify issues and search for solutions etc.
• To help the local students and their parents to be reconnected with their awa, their culture and traditional practises (customary fisheries etc.).
• To involve the locals (kaumatua and Kuia) in the transmission of local knowledge through the school. We are expecting them to take an active part in the education programme.
• To develop practical activities (planting project, weaving workshop etc.) where the students can learn through real experience and participation.
• To create the link between students and professionals working in the management of the environment through several workshops organised over the year (DOC, Forestry Manager, Marine biologist etc.). This could help develop interest and maybe vocations for these young Tamariki looking for carrier opportunities in that industry.
3- Key people involved
• The Principal and teachers are very supportive and involved and are the driving force behind this project.
• Jennifer Scothern, local Enviro school Coordinator is in charge of the delivery of the curriculum established by the group.
• Iwi and Hapu are extremely supportive of the initiative and contribute a lot through the different workshops planned.
• The Project Manager for the WCMG Incorporated is in charge of the implementation of the curriculum and report to funders.
• The Whangawehi Catchment group (including Iwi, local farmers and Agencies) is extremely proud to be able to engage with the younger generations and transmit its aspirations.
4- Link with Agencies
This unique template has already generated a lot of interest and the school has been offered the support from WWF- New Zealand, Department of Conservation, Fish and Game, Hawkes Bay Regional Council and the National Aquarium of NZ through the Fresh Water Education Programme.
2014/15/16/17/18 – Matauranga Maori project with Te Mahia School
The Whangawehi Community took a very active part in the delivery of 12 workshops throughout the year in order to pass on their knowledge and understanding of the environment they want to protect. This project will generate intergenerational change in the way people think and manage their natural resources. We hope it will also help develop leadership in the community and prepare the next generation of kaitiaki for the Whangawehi Catchment Restoration project.
Some of the workshops held in 2014/15/16/17/18 :
- Catchment presentation : History of the catchments, stories and legends, soil type and landuses
- Visit to the National Aquarium of Napier and comparative study between Napier’s mud flats and Whangawehi
- Science fair : water quality project
- Biodiversity of fresh water ways -Drain detectives -Bugs and streams
- Vision map for the catchment
- Properties of NZ native trees (tree identification and ecological requiremenst, customary uses including weaving, carving and Rongoa
- Weaving and carving workshop
- How to plan a restoration programme (community planting day)
- Community planting day
- Field trip to the waste water treatment plant
- Bird watching and wetland ecosystem study
- Water and fish monitoring workshop
- Bush visit at the Bush reserve (postponed to next year due to rain)
- Waikawa retreat for the winners of the kaitiaki competition
2017- School programme
The 2017 school programme is ready with a lot of exciting hands on activities.
Curriculum : temahiaschoolprojectplan2017blog
2018- School programme
Thanks to the supported received from WWF, the programme is continuing with lots of new activities. TeMahia School Project WCMG 2018