Te Aho Tū Roa has supported Te Kura Māori o Porirua to deliver Te Wao Nui ā Tāne - a programme taking tamariki out into the nursery to learn about habitat planting and how vital it is to mauri recovery.
Te Wao Nui ā Tāne kaupapa began last year after a series of discussions with lead teachers at Te Kura Māori o Porirua, to support the awa restoration journey that the kura has undertaken. The kaupapa has utilised the Living Landscapes Habitat Project led by Enviroschools and Te Rito Gardens in Porirua whaitua.
The collaborative nature of the exchange between kaupapa was definitely one of the factors which has made the programme such a success. Tamariki loved being at Te Rito garden, a wonder wilderness nursery, sadly in the brink of eviction from highway developments.
During the pre-planning phase, manager Steve Wilson highlighted the need for more diverse communities to get involved, and was inspired to work with a Māori approach and brush up on his te reo skills. Two site visits were undertaken by the Year 5 and 6 classes of Whaea Tania Panepasa, who were given a tour of Te Rito, followed by mini workshops on clay seed balls, composting, seed art, rongoā sketches, and propogation.
In the final week of term, a planting day was organised, and members from a neighbouring kura - Corrina School - were invited to help plant 300+ native plants along the northern boundary of the awa. He rā whawhati kō! It was such a beautiful morning with Tama Nui Te Rā gracing us with his warm presence, and the atmosphere buzzing with lots of flitting energies working simultaneously and collectively to regenerate a healthy ngahere.
There were many “oohs” and “aahs” as little ones uncovered earthworms and other micro-organisms whilst planting Whārangi, koromiko, kōhūhū, mānuka, pōhuehue, pūrei, kōwhai, tī kouka and harakeke. Even some of the kaiako were breaking a sweat putting their backs into it!
Since planting, tamariki have applied a maintenance plan by applying wool mats donated by Te Rito garden to prevent further weed growth. Te Wao Nui ā Tāne has also successfully developed the continued engagement between Te Aho Tū Roa and the kura in Te Aitanga ā Manu.
None of this was possible without amazing lead teachers who are passionate learners themselves, dedicated to exploring best learning environments for their tamariki, through as many mediums as possible.
The kura are in the process of seeking funding for a Toi workshop for tamariki to create a community sign. Not only will it help demarcate boundaries for council parks and reserves staff to mow around the site, but also bring awareness to the community of the kura moemoeā and actions to revitalise the mauri of the awa as a safe and happy space for all tamariki of Tāne to enjoy.
Collaboration is a major focus for Toimata at an organisational, teaching and learning level. The participants in Toimata kaupapa share their unique gifts and learning together to co-create new ideas, understand new perspectives, and strengthen the individuals' sense of value within communities. Through the collaborative nature of Toimata programmes, we continue to see the wide diversity of people and communities taking action together, using their creativity and innovation to address interconnected issues, and share solutions to increase the collective pool of knowledge.