Add to collection
  • + Create new collection
  • Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato and Waikato Regional Council
    Published 17 March 2020 Referencing Hub media

    This enables students to participate and contribute with science in an authentic context. It helps them develop science capital – science knowledge, attitudes, skills and experiences. It also provides students with the opportunity to see themselves in science.

    Taking action enables students to feel empowered and able to make a difference. Taking action is different to participating in activities, as action leads to a result/change/impact as well as learning.

    Combined with action is communication about the information students have gathered during the planning stage and while they are carrying out the action. Communicating information is an effective means to engage with the community and to potentially get others involved with ongoing or future action. It also provides cross-curricular opportunities in speaking, writing and presenting.


    Questions to consider

    • Are there safety considerations we need to consider?
    • Do we need to inform people about our work before we begin?
    • Do we have the resources we need to begin?
    • Are we familiar with the protocols and/or tools we will be using?
    • Do we need to follow tikanga or other customary practices before beginning or during our project?
    • Where can we go if we have questions while carrying out the project?
    • How are we working as scientists?
    • What methods, tools or practices are we using that are similar to what scientists do?
    • How will we record our actions and progress during and after the project?
    • When presenting information about the action we are taking, who is our audience?
    • What is the most effective way to get information about our mahi to our audience?
    • Is there a way that individuals or whānau outside of school can undertake similar action?
    • How can we support them to do this?



    The Fairfield Project is a community venture that started a few years ago to look after a piece of land that was otherwise going to likely be sold and developed. We have a long-term lease and a long-term dream to restore the gully environment. There are 8 hectares of gully. It’s very overgrown and neglected because, over time, they weren’t really looked after or seen as a valuable resource. That’s changed over many years, and there’s quite a bit of gully restoration work going on in Hamilton.

    Most of the work that has been done has been done by a handy team of volunteers and by groups associated with the two schools that border the gully – Waikato Diocesan School for Girls and Fairfield College. So those two schools have had groups of students doing most of the planting, and the preparation work that led up to the planting was done by our volunteers and contractors.

    Quite a lot of preparation that goes in before you can restore anything because otherwise the trees won’t survive. In these gully systems, it’s largely removal of rubbish, clearance of weeds and getting the area to a suitable standard so the trees have a better chance of survival.

    We’re supported in our work by Ngāti Wairere. They are part of our Trust, and they are the mana whenua of this rohe here. They have a strong history and narrative connected to the space. There were marae close by, there have been ancient taonga found in the gully – it’s a very special place.

    NIWA have been studying the giant kōkopu in the stream for the last 15 years and monitoring their spawning, which these fish are doing in the middle of an urban stream, which is highly unusual. So that’s a real taonga species that we have here. There are tuna in the stream as well, so this stream’s quite an important ecosystem in its own right.

    Having the local people able to access and learn some of that unique and special nature of it drives a lot of us in the project.


    Lynnette Rogers
    The Fairfield Project
    Jordan, Lucy, Hannah, Jess and Sam, Waikato Diocesan School for Girls
    Jake and Sarah, Bankwood Primary School
    Drone footage of Kukutāruhe Gully, footage of gully weeding, rubbish removal and planting out and footage of teacher workshop, The Fairfield Project
    Footage of Dr Cindy Baker electronically monitoring fish, the Kudos Science Trust
    Footage of giant kōkopu, David Tate, Mahurangi Technical Institute


    This video has been developed in partnership with the Waikato Regional Council as part of the Rivers and Us resource.

        Go to full glossary
        Download all