Ambury Regional Park planting day – 10 schools together!

Ambury Regional Park planting day – 10 schools together!

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There was a hint of spring in the air on Wednesday 3 August as 10 schools came together with student representatives, teachers, parents, caregivers and community partners to plant young harakeke and cabbage trees along the coastal foreshore walk. Just over 100 students participated and around 20 teachers and parent helpers were supported by the Ambury Park rangers and Watercare staff.

Te Iti Kahurangi Kāhui Ako is a community of ten schools: Māngere Bridge Primary School, Waterlea Primary School, Onehunga Primary School, Royal Oak Primary School, Oranga Primary School, Te Papapa Primary School, St Joseph’s Primary School, Royal Oak Intermediate, Onehunga High School and Marcellin College.

Key physical features that frame the Te Iti Kahurangi Kāhui Ako community are two maunga: Te Pane o Mataoho (Māngere mountain) and Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill), together with Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa (Manukau Harbour). By collaborating on projects linked with our local environment, we provide opportunities for our students to connect with the whenua with its cultural significance to mana whenua. And then, by becoming kaitiaki of our whenua, our students discover ways to restore it and protect it for future generations. In this way, students develop their agency and efficacy in being able to make a difference in and for their local community – building greater confidence in being able to affect positive change.

A big focus of the day was kaitiakitanga – doing things to restore the land (whenua) and protect it for future generations. Another important focus was developing connectedness, both with the local environment and with each other (whanaungatanga). Tauakana-teina relationships of an older high school student with younger primary students were encouraged, as older students dispersed themselves amongst the younger students to help them with digging holes, providing encouragement and generally getting to know the tamariki. Everyone worked together to care for the land, strengthening their sense of belonging from a shared purpose (kotahitanga).

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