As part of our focus on learning about the natural world, our local environment, teaching for a sustainable future and our commitment to building a lasting relationship with local Iwi, in 2013 a connection with the Mangatarere Stream was born. This connection has been and still continues to be supported by Rawiri Smith, the wider Iwi of Ngati Kahungunu and the Landowners next to the stream – Marty and Audrey.
We visit once a week with a different group of 4 children each time. These visits allow the tamariki to develop a sense of manaaki (care/respect) and the Mangatarere Stream has become a place of turangawaewae (belonging) and the tamariki identify as kaitiaki (guardians) of this whenua.
During our visits the tamariki are encouraged to be mindful and unhurried so that they can fully engage, investigate, question and research whilst nurturing a love for the complexities of the environment we live in and are nourished by. Learning dispositions such as; curiosity, playfulness, resilience, respect, and a genuine responsibility for the environment and the living things within it are promoted. This is achieved by the tamariki using all their senses to engage with the flora, fauna, wildlife, ecosystems and habitats at the stream so they are able to develop and investigate working theories about the natural world. Tamariki also learn about the whakapapa of the stream and the importance of this natural environment from a Te Āo Māori perspective.