2 Jul, 2021
Hawkes Bay Today
School kids at five Havelock North schools have been given the opportunity to become kaitiaki of their own sections of Te Mata Park.
As part of efforts to plant more trees in the park, Te Mata Park Trust reached out to Hawke’s Bay schools to get them involved.
The Schools for Trees Kaitiaki Project was created which asks the schools to “adopt” a small block of land in the park.
Five schools near Te Mata Peak are on board and planting started on Friday.
The school planting areas surround a large flat area near Tamariki Ako – a piece of land purchased in 2019 community fundraising project One Giant Chance – that will be used for school sessions, picnics and gatherings in the future.
Havelock North Primary School, Havelock North High School and Lucknow School took part in the first planting day, planting mānuka, kānuka, kōwhai, harakeke, tī kōuka, ribbonwood and makomako.
Havelock North Primary School planted 150 plants, Lucknow School 60 and Havelock North High School planted 60.
Havelock North Primary School teacher Emily Cooper said after studying a kaitiakitanga unit, the pupils were looking at ways they could be kaitiaki of the local area and were naturally drawn to the peak as it is “such a huge part of our community”.
The pupils benefit from learning how to plant properly, identifying native plants and understanding how to care for them, and knowing the positive impact they can have in helping develop local ecosystems.
“Students loved the opportunity, many of them named the plants they personally planted and spoke about coming back to visit them.
“They talked about feeling connected to the land and wanting to be up there more often.”
The school plans on coming back to its plot each term for maintenance, weeding and general care and the aim is that the pupils and their families continue to be kaitiaki of the plot even after they leave the school.
Lucknow School teacher Jayden Austin said it is a great opportunity “to put our sustainability hats on” and connect with the local maunga.
“I think education outside of the classroom is invaluable. Together we are tackling real-word problems in a fun, engaging and empowering environment.”
The pupils learn about interdependence between themselves and the environment in projects such as this and can gain life skills in sustainability, he said.
“Our students had a blast; they cannot wait to come back and check on their trees and plants. ”
They plan on remaining involved through further planting and upcoming maintenance.
Havelock North Primary School pupil Sophie Rimmer said she wanted to take part to help the trees grow.
“When you’re older your children can see Te Mata Peak and see the trees you planted.”
Fellow pupil Oskar Wilding said he thought it was good because they could get out, get some exercise and plant some native trees that they can go back and see later.
Te Mata School and Havelock North Intermediate will take part in the second planting day on August 6.