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  • This Connected article takes a Pacific worldview and describes how the people of the Cook Islands have attempted to manage and protect their marine resources with the re-introduction of the tradition of ra‘ui.

    Rights: Crown 2020

    Connected article: Raʻui: Giving it back to the gods

    An article in the 2020 level 3 Connected journal ‘Kaitiakitanga’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

    The ra’ui system is the traditional method of conservation and preservation of resources, it is similar to the mātauranga Māori concept of rāhui.

    The tradition of ra’ui has not been successfully implemented in all of Rarotonga’s lagoons, but where it has, marine life has returned. Use this article to explore the issues that boost or challenge success, and the diversity and validity of different people’s perspectives on ra‘ui. Investigate the impacts humans have had on marine environments, the concept of interrelatedness of ecosystems, the importance of sustainable management practices, and the need for communication with the community.

    Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato

    Ecosystem overfishing

    Large-scale fishing operations resulting in overfishing disturb the ecological balance of marine ecosystems.

    ‘Fishing down the food web’ means fishing for smaller and smaller fish because the larger ones are fished out.

    Check your school library for the article from the 2020 level 3 Connected journal ‘Kaitiakitanga’, download it as a Google slide presentation from Tāhūrangi or order it from the Ministry of Education.

    Rights: Crown 2020

    2020 Connected Level 3: Kaitiakitanga

    The cover of the 2020 level 3 Connected journal ‘Kaitiakitanga’ published by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand. This issue includes the articles Life in Aotearoa New Zealand, Raʻui: Giving it back to the Gods, Te tapa ingoa, and Trees, seas and soil.

    Teacher support material

    The teacher support material (TSM) can be downloaded from Tāhūrangi (Word and PDF files available).

    It has two learning activities that support the exploring science aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum:

    • Protecting our place – students investigate local sanctuaries and rāhui. The activity also incorporates the citizen science Litter Intelligence project.
    • Let it be – covers food chains and ecosystems, including using the Marine food webs article. The extension idea uses the Rena disaster as an example of how indigenous knowledge and science worked together to restore the mauri of the local area.

    Literacy strategies also support students to get the most out of the text and include important skills useful when approaching scientific vocabulary.

    Related content

    In addition to the resources linked in the article above, use these resources below:

    Check out our entire range of Connected articles here. We’ve curated them by topic and concepts.

    Building Science Concepts Book 22: Tidal Communities: Interdependence and the Effects of Change – studying a rocky shore ecosystem provides opportunities to explore the concepts of variety, interdependence, changes in an environment and the relationships between living and non-living elements.

    Activity idea

    Build a marine food web – uses images of organisms from the marine ecosystem and can be done indoors on paper or outdoors on a tarmac surface using chalk.

    Connected articles

    Useful links

    Rāhui, Junior Journal 58, Level 2, 2019 – will a rāhui ensure there will be enough berries to share on Huia’s mothers birthday.

    The Constructing food chains activity from Science Online on TKI allows students to develop models of feeding relationships in communities. It utilises the Building Science Concepts book above.

    Find out more Ra‘ui (Marine Protected Areas) on the Ministry of Marine Resources Cook Islands website.

    See the Marae Moana website, a multiple-use marine park which extends over the entire Exclusive Economic Zone of the Cook Islands.

    Evidence supports the teaching of Indigenous knowledge alongside sciences in the classroom, read more in Amanda Black, Jason M. Tylianakis, Teach Indigenous knowledge alongside science. Science 383, 592–594 (2024). DOI:10.1126/science.adi9606

    The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the Back of the Chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details, contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email


    The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

      Published 12 June 2021 Referencing Hub articles
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