Integrated mātauranga Māori with ecological building at Wellington East Girls' College

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Teachers at Wellington East Girls' College are focused on bringing indigenous knowledge and approaches into their curriculum. They have integrated mātauranga Māori with ecological building and science, adding depth and meaning to the students’ experience.

Choosing to tackle the idea of ecological building and design within the science curriculum is courageous and Wellington East Girls College teacher Katherine Haines didn’t stop there. She wanted her students to think holistically about ecological design, taking into consideration how buildings can work with nature and enhance the health and well-being of the whole community.

The students engaged in thinking about how buildings could acknowledge and be part of the history and natural features of the land. In thinking about the people that are mana whenua, and the people that would use the building and how, they were asked to consider kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga and to ensure cultural safety was part of their design scope. 

To gain an understanding of these concepts, they consulted with mana whenua through their Enviroschools Facilitator.  Consulting in this way also helped them learn about the important geographical features in their design area.

2021 ES WEGC Matauranga Maori 1 building understanding of concepts of kaitiakitanga manaakitanga and cultural safety

Student responses to participating in this learning were hugely positive with about a quarter of the class saying it was their favourite topic of the year. They shared that they loved learning about the environment and how to help it and that learning about both western science and mātauranga pūtaiao together was really important to them.

To read more about this approach you can see the full story here on the Enviroschools website.

Holding the vision of Te Aho Tū Roa and Enviroschools