Schools and teachers across the country have access to free Matariki resources, thanks to an initiative that links New Zealand scientists with students, teachers, and the community.
The Science Learning Hub (SLH) - Pokapū Akoranga Pūtaiao - has teamed up with the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Stats NZ to make the findings in the latest state-of-the-environment report, Environment Aotearoa 2022 more visible and accessible to schools.
Using this report, the SLH, which has been developed by the University of Waikato under contract to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, is highlighting how each whetū (star) in the Matariki cluster can guide us in thinking about different aspects of our environment.
Throughout Term 2, articles are being published for schools to use that connect each star of Matariki with an aspect of our wellbeing and the environment.
Five articles have been released to date, including Pōhutukawa, a star that prompts reflection and is connected to those who have passed, Tupuānuku, associated with the soil and what grows beneath the ground, Tupuārangi, connected to food, growth and birds, and what grows and lives above the ground, Waitī, the star connected to freshwater, and Waitā, which is connected to the oceans and marine conditions.
“We need to engage with it and what is happening in our world so we can change the way we are behaving,” says Dr Buntting.
She says understanding how wellbeing is connected to the environment was understood by Māori as well as our ancestors, and is incredibly important for current and future generations.
“The SLH is connecting real data and research with schools, teachers and students. Our aim is to give teachers and students new ways to engage with scientific data and with mātauranga Māori.”
Meanwhile, Andrea Soanes, Associate Director of SLH, says a lot of teachers focus learning around Matariki and, with the inaugural Matariki public holiday coming up, their resources are in demand.
“Teachers are hungry for resources around Matariki. We’ve prepared materials from MfE and Stats NZ’s environmental report which will support teachers to build their own understanding while engaging their students with deeper learning,” says Soanes.
“The SLH resources give teachers confidence in incorporating culturally responsive teaching and learning into their programmes.”
The partnership between MfE, Stats NZ and the SLH builds on an earlier collaboration that supported the visibility of the Our Atmosphere and Climate reporting of 2020, with educational resources supporting teachers and students to engage with and understand the effects of climate change on our wellbeing through environmental reporting.
Access the free Matariki resources from the Science Learning Hub here.