Visit our site

Whakatane Kura Taiao Science Camp


15 September 2022

notebook cover

Beneath the Waves (BTW) hosted its first kura taiao science camp in August 2022 at Wairaka Marae in Whakatāne with Te Kura o Paroa. 65 students and their teachers actively participated in the week-long event.

The first day focused on ‘connecting people to place’ where there was an ex-change of knowledge of the local area from the perspectives of the mana whenua and those who have studied the natural landscapes from a scientific perspective. For the second and third days the group split into two, where groups rotated between a ‘coastal’ day and a ‘natural hazard and preparedness’ day. The ‘coastal’ day took participants to Ngā Tapuwae o Toi Walkway where students were able to get hands on and learn about geology, volcanoes and tsunami. The ‘natural hazard & preparedness’ activities included learning about how to prepare for natural hazards in Whakatane and what to do in the event of an earthquake, tsunami or volcanic eruption. The fourth day had a geothermal theme and the group visited the Kawerau Geothermal Field, Te Ahi o Maui Geothermal Plant and Kawerau hot pools. On the last day, everyone got together to reflect on the week and review what they’d learnt.

The kura taiao science camp was not just a Beneath the Waves event, it successfully brought together the RCET(external link) and ECLIPSE(external link) research programmes to cover a range of natural hazards including volcano and tsunami. Colleagues from Canterbury and Auckland Universities and East Coast LAB(external link) participated in the week, making it a truly collaborative event.

There were many practical, hands-on activities throughout the week that kept the participants engaged. There was a focus on weaving together Mātauranga Māori and western science in a safe and open environment, where there was an exchange of learning, and relationships were built. Students were also able to see potential career paths in the sciences and how these pathways could help them to continue to support the local area and community.

During the week, Masters student Kieron Wall co-developed and delivered a game design workshop together with the help of Ben Kennedy and Heide Lukosch.

The Beneath the Waves team are extremely grateful to all those who contributed to this event and worked to develop relationships with the communities that would benefit from the outcomes of the research we’re conducting.