A collaborative communities education project that aims to empower young people to lead community action towards creating a healthy river.

Te Waka Unua students planting in Connal Reserve. Healthy river, healthy people – Oranga awa, oranga tāngata

This project is an opportunity for students to connect and collaborate with each other and develop as leaders. 

There are over 100 schools and early childhood education centres within one kilometre of the awa/river. Many of these are taking action for the river or have connections to their river through their cultural narrative. 

Our student leadership team (2020) includes representatives from five schools; Hillmorton and Cashmere High, Our Lady of Assumption, Beckenham Te Kura o Pūroto, and West Spreydon primary school. 

A model for success

The project is a conservation education programme based on the Collaborative Community Education Model (CCEM).  The framework endeavours to develop a programme that is an authentic, collaborative, student-led, continuous learning journey and provides teacher professional development and support.

Other projects using this model include Kids Greening Taupo (external link)and Town Belt Kaitiaki(external link) in Dunedin.

Students

Students leaders from Our Lady of the Assumption Te Kura O Tūpaki, Te Ara Koropiko West Spreydon School, and Beckenham Te Kura o Pūroto School taking action for the river under the Healthy Ōpāwaho project.

Students unite for a Healthy Ōpāwaho

Local school students have joined forces to lead community action to improve the health of the Ōpāwaho River. Over the past year, students from five local primary and secondary schools have been part of the Healthy Ōpāwaho education programme to help create a healthier river.


Education coordinator Sally Airey says this project has been a great opportunity for students to connect and collaborate with each other and develop as leaders. 

“There are over 100 schools and early childhood education centres within one kilometre of the awa/river,” Ms Airey says. “Many of these are taking action for the river or have connections to their river through their cultural narrative.”

During the year, students attended a noho marae and hīkoi and planned projects with local community groups. Some of the actions included installing stormwater drain filters and organising rubbish cleanups with their school communities.

Students have also taken part in riparian planting, which involves planting the areas beside waterways with native plants that help filter sediment and debris out of stormwater, while also creating a natural habitat for native wildlife.

Ms Airey says the programme is now on hold until further funding is secured.

Our collaborative partnership

The project steering group is made up of representatives from:

Meet our education coordinator Sally Airey

"I live near the awa and bike or walk along it every day, and with my whānau have taken part in river clean-ups and other initiatives along the river. 

I am inspired by the actions that our students have undertaken this year,  and their passion to protect and enhance the health of the Ōpāwaho/Heathcote catchment."

Contact Sally by emailing Sally.Airey@ccc.govt.nz.