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Helping the next generation to love their waterways

Loving our Waterways wagtail

A collaborative education programme being piloted by Porirua City Council aims to help local tamariki understand the importance of Porirua’s waterways.

The ‘Loving our Waterways’ programme educates students about this important resource from the perspective of both art and science, with hands-on activities to really help drive the message home.

At the start of this term, a group of Year 2 and 3 students from Rangikura School were taken through the Naadohbii: to draw water exhibition at Pātaka Art + Museum. This exhibition featured art demonstrating the importance of water from the perspectives of indigenous cultures around the world.

It was then the students’ turn to get artistic, as they were taken through a workshop to make cyanotype prints using kawakawa, kōwhai and harakeke/flax leaves and flowers.

Pātaka Senior Education Officer Josie Whelan also spoke about the importance of these different native plants as a crucial part of the natural habitat that was traditionally found in Porirua.

The second part of the day saw the group venture out to the nearby Te kukuwai-o-Toa/Elsdon Wetland, where Council Community Engagement Co-ordinator Natalie Packer spoke about the significance of this young wetland and the important job it does for our local environment. She demonstrated how the wetland operates to filter sediment out of water flowing through before it reaches Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour.

The group then walked around the wetland to see the different plants and learn how they worked.

“Young people are the heart of our city, and we are also committed to the health of Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and its catchment,” explains Council Manager Harbour and Resource Recovery Nigel Clarke.

“Teaching the importance of our waterways through art, visiting and hands-on learning is raising awareness so we can pass the torch of looking after our natural environment onto the next generation.”

Rangikura School teacher Sonja Bedingfield says the day was a great opportunity for the students to experience meaningful learning outside of the classroom.

“The children were highly engaged and there were many learning opportunities for me to carry on the learning back in the classroom.”

During the first six weeks of term 4, five different Porirua schools will trial the pilot programme, after which it will be reviewed.

13 Nov 2023