Matahui School has always had a strong connection to the environment and subscribed to the notion that the classroom extends well beyond the four walls. I have always felt that given our proximity to the Kamai range, in essence our “backyard,” that as a school we could perhaps assume a greater responsibility and connection for a section of the bush and accept a role as guardians.
We were recently given the opportunity to take part in the Aongatete Restoration project in which North Island weka were captured in the Opotiki area so that they could be released into an aviary established in the Aongatete forest – an exciting prospect we could not pass up.
The Maori have traditionally held a strong and deep affinity for the natural world – the concept of managing the environment which they express as kaitiakitanga.
Being able to take an active part in this project which will be ongoing, is Matahui School’s kaitiakitanga. The impact of being directly involved in the release of the birds has made an indelible impression on our students. Having helped carry the birds into the forest and then seeing them settled they have come to realise that they can continue to support the project and maintain a close connection with the forest and its newest inhabitant and take on a guardianship role.
Our entire school community would like to thank Ann Graeme for sharing this unique experience with the Matahui School students and giving us an authentic reason to consider becoming guardians of the forest.
Use the following Facebook links to get more detailed information and a host of other photographs….