Friday, September 19, 2014

Te Waihora-Elllesmere : Waterwise Project

This morning I was privileged to attend a fabulous presentation of contextualised problem based learning - presented at the Rolleston Community Centre.

3 of our students, along with Science teacher, Marian Hansen, spent a week with students from a number of other schools (Gisborne, Kaikoura and Canterbury ) investigating and learning about 'the water, the lake and sustainability' 
This is the 2nd year of this programme - looking at the water issue in the region. Led by Jocelyn Papprill - youth engagement advocate. 

Lincoln Uni made their facilities available to the students for the week. They along with CPIT and the UC mentors have provided invaluable support.  Ngai Tahu, Untouched World and eCan also contributed to the collaborative nature of the project. 

Over the week over 500 trees were planted around the waterways. 

Team Dynamite

Discussed the issues of dams on NZ rivers, including the problem of the lack of silt  flow revitalising the coastline; the decline of eel (tuna) and the free flow water algae production. 

Team Questionmark 
Is this our future?

Great visual on what water quality might ( or might not!!) look like.

Message : young people need to get involved in local bodies and councils - for example Hamish Keown.

Team Jess and Lucy
'If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem'

The history and importance of Te Waihora to local iwi cannot be underestimated.

Message: The urgency of the need to create sustainable farming practices. 

Team AJ
Use you imagination - what we have could soon be gone. 

Educate, Activate, Facilitate - Youth Voice for Nature - educate the youth to activate action and facilitate change. Engage youth by using social media - easy access - as is radio.

Aim: music festivals to promote change in order to create a sustainable environment 

Team We Are G 

The message of starting school in their own school - Gisborne Girls' High - beginning with an Enviroment Council was one the girls had learnt from the Canterbury schools' models. 

Social media is away forward for many of the teams. But using the traditional stick game as a way of passing  on the message.

The challenge for the team is building knowledge around the erosion of the beaches. 

Team Film

How many regions will have to face the same problems before action is taken?

Created a short film to show the challenges they had overcome during the week - in order to share the knowledge and message 'take action'

Message: nature needs a voice 

Today we saw a snapshot of their learning - the tip of the iceberg! A group of great young leaders in the making. 


  1. Thank you for coming Alison. It was a tremendous experience working alongside Jocelyn, an energetic and talented bunch of tertiary students and a group of caring, considerate young people. The students were exposed to challenging information, viewpoints and hands-on experiences then allowed to reflect and formulate their own conclusions regarding actions to take towards a more sustainable future. The week culminated with the students working collaboratively to present their thoughts to an invited audience. It was fantastic to see experiential learning like this and to see how the students were empowered to take action in their local communities. The vision, values and principles of the curriculum right before our eyes! The challenge for me is to help incorporate this type of learning experience into the school setting. Thanks so much to Rangiora High and Untouched World Charitable Trust for this amazing opportunity. Marian Hanson.

  2. Thanks, Alison - lovely to see your blog. We definitely love having Rangiora High involved and have thoroughly enjoyed the students and staff who have participated so far .... please send more next year! Look forward to working with RHS students and staff on future programmes and other projects where we can offer support.