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.