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Science wānanga cureently held annually in Heretaunga (7th year) are a product of a JV partnership between Otago University and Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga, supported by HBDHB and other stakeholders.

They are held to encourage more Māori rangatahi to participate in science, achieve in tertiary studies and go on to contribute in science-related careers.  Lofty goal perhaps, but evidence from schools shows it is helping keep our tamariki select science as a subject past 4th form! 

Each wānanga has a matauranga maori theme and takes the form of a two or three-day noho at a Heretaunga marae. This sets the scene for about 50 year 8 to 10 Māori students to experience hands-on science under the expert eyes of Otago Uni science tutors and post-grad students (some from HB) alongside immersion in local mātauranga.

We commend the Otago team members for their expertise and whole-hearted participation, particularly those who are first-timers to experience Te Ao Māori.  

The 2017 Waipatu wananga called  ‘Muriwaihou Haukunui - Water is a taonga’ and the three science projects delivered were;

  1. Physics-using light to measure concentration in water,
  2. Ecology-measuring water quality by identifying invertebrates
  3. Pharmacology-using fruit peels and sea monkeys to remove heavy metals from water.

Kura who have attended over the past six years are Bridge Pa, Hastings Intermediate. Girls and Boys High, Hukarere, Flaxmere College,  St John’s,  St Joseph’s Girls, Te Aka Whaikura, Te Aute,  Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga kura and Whare Tapere O Takitimu.

A total of twelve so far! 

Some choice feedback from students on “how has the wānanga changed your thinking about science”  

  • We need to keep our rivers clean for generations to come
  • Seeing what the chemicals can do, knowing what happens in our water
  • It has opened my mind to think outside the box
  • Made me more confident in science at school and made me learn more

And Teachers

  • reinforced the importance of hands on tasks
  • love the themes linked to our community
  • We now have more students engaged, now making the teaching easier
  • Made it fun, interesting and relevant to our community; kei hapai ake nei tauira
  • It made me think about designing a unit to do this school wide at our Kura

Ae, wānanga…those tīpuna of ours knew some things alright!

Shooting the Breeze with Te Kaihautu

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