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  • He reo nō te puehu – A voice from the dust is a 360-degree browser-based virtual reality experience in which users can visit Lake Moawhitu at different points in time: Pre Human, Māori Settlement, Present Day and Future 2122.

    Rights: He Reo Nō Te Puehu, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

    Experiencing Lake Moawhitu through time

    Ngāti Koata Trust and Lakes380 teamed up to create a virtual experience of Lake Moawhitu to show how it has changed over the last 1,000 years and what it could look like 100 years from now.

    Each virtual world contains videos, pop-ups with images and facts and immersive experiences in the roto (lake) and on the whenua (land).

    He reo nō te puehu – A voice from the dust is a collaborative project between Ngāti Koata Trust, the Department of Conservation and Lakes380 using both mātauranga and scientific data. The virtual worlds illustrate how much the lake and catchment have changed and inspire hope through the restoration and reconnection of whānau to the whenua. Learn more about this initiative in the article He reo nō te puehu – A voice from the dust.

    Although this project uses Lake Moawhitu as the specific context for exploration, the central issues explored in the virtual world – the degradation of a valued mahinga kai site and the aspirations for restoration – will be common for many roto in Aotearoa.

    This activity helps users navigate and deepen engagement with He reo nō te puehu. It includes questions to promote understanding of how evidence gained from sediment cores combines with local mātauranga to create a robust picture of the past. It also provides opportunities for students to use multiple science capabilities.

    This activity provides opportunities to develop local curriculum and support mana ōrite mō te mātauranga Māori.

    In this activity, students use a 360-degree browser-based virtual reality experience to explore changes to Lake Moawhitu through time while building an understanding of the mātauranga and scientific evidence that underpin the virtual experiences.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • navigate the virtual worlds within He reo nō te puehu
    • use media and text to explore how human impacts can change lakes within a short time period
    • discuss/consider how mātauranga and science knowledge are used as evidence of the changes
    • discuss/consider how the evidence is used to engage and inform people.

    Download the Word file (see link below).

    Related content

    Lakes380 – Our Lakes’ health: past, present, future is an introductory article about this groundbreaking project.

    Science, mātauranga Māori and social sciences are interwoven throughout the Lakes380 programme. Lakes380 – a context for learning includes key concepts, curriculum links and additional pedagogical help. It also has links to all of our Lakes380 resources.

    Find out more about the ‘Communicating in science’ strand in the New Zealand curriculum.

    Useful links

    This activity uses several resources developed by Lakes 380:

    Make use of local curriculum opportunities. Visit Lakes380 to find images and data of the many lakes they’ve sampled. The Lakes380 YouTube channel includes drone footage of some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s beautiful lakes.


    This resource has been developed in collaboration with Lakes380 – Our lakes’ health: past, present, future (C05X1707), Cawthron Institute and GNS Science. The virtual world was developed through a collaboration between Ngāti Koata, Department of Conservation, Mckayla Holloway (Lakes380), Russleigh Parai (Lakes380), Jacob Barrow (Shadow Space), Jeff Brass (GNS Science), Bruce Green (Cawthron Institute), Kirsten Revell (Revell Design), Bob Bickerton and Solomon Rahui.

    Rights: Crown Copyright, Cawthron Institute and GNS Science

    Lakes380 – Our lakes’ health: past, present, future

    Lakes380 is a national project to gain in-depth understanding of the current and historical health of lakes in Aotearoa New Zealand. The project was co-led by GNS Science and Cawthron Institute and funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (C05X1707;

      Published 13 March 2023 Referencing Hub articles
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