Papatawa students study creek
Papatawa School students visited Coppermine Creek to learn about the environment.
It was an initiative from Ngati Kahungunu when local kaumatua Morrie Black approached principal Wynita Roberts offering the programme. Wynita says it ticked two boxes in the school curriculum — acknowledging Ngati Kahungunu under the school’s Charter and studying the environment, a major strand of the curriculum.
Ngati Kahungunu sponsored the day, paying for freshwater specialist Kate McArthur of environmental consultancy the Catalyst Group, transportation and shouting the school lunch.
In the morning the children of the junior school learnt about the geology and landforms of Coppermine Creek from Morrie Black before Kate McArthur carried out water studies in the stream looking for insects and measuring its PH.
Then James Kendrick showed the children how Maori used the bush, pointing out useful plants like karamu for anti-septic applications, tutu for pain relief and dye for flax, mahoe for writing on and attracting stick insects and kahikatea berries to attract bellbirds and tui.
After a barbecue lunch the juniors headed back to school while the seniors had their session.
Principal Kate McArthur said she hoped this would be the first of other sessions with Ngati Kahungunu.