Visit our site

Kura visit WhakaRūamoko exhibit with scientists

Our Science

07 December 2023

exhibit image

Kura o te Paroa and the science outreach team at Beneath the Waves have been working together during the last two years to teach the tauira (students) in the kura (school) about the hazards associated with volcanoes on the east coast of New Zealand.

On 4 November 2023, Beneath the Waves arranged a special event at Te Papa Museum in Wellington for Te Kura o te Pāroa to explore the exhibits with some of the scientist who helped design them. This opportunity arose because Te Kura o te Pāroa were returning to Whakatane through Wellington from Te Mana Kuratahi(external link), the national primary schools kapa haka competition in Nelson.

te papa BK kids 2
Dr Ben Kennedy exploring the power and mechanics of volcanoes with students.

The guided exploration focused on WhakaRūamoko - the active land exhibit. The tauira were provided with a workbook to complete by visiting five stations, each representing a different aspect of WhakaRūamoko:

  • Plate tectonics and the formation of Aotearoa NZ,
  • Volcanoes,
  • Earthquakes,
  • Tsunamis, and
  • Geothermal and Mātaurunga Māori.

At each station, the scientists helped the students interact with the exhibits, for example making a volcano erupt or creating a tsunami. Through interaction with the exhibits and questioning the scientists, the students could complete their workbooks and build on the knowledge they had learnt in the classroom and at an earlier Geocamp.

te papa kids only
Tauira from Kura o te Paroa exploring tsunami.

Even though the rangatahi were exhausted after their epic performances at the kapa haka competition, the scientists were amazed by their enthusiasm and curiosity. Dr Graham Leonard who was responsible for helping design many of the exhibits and has taken many schools through the museum commented, “this crew was amazing, such great energy, some future scientists in there for sure”.

The day was rounded off beautifully when the school performed a wonderful waiata, filling the exhibition space with meaning and emotion. This event is building relationships between Beneath the Waves and Te kura o te Pāroa for continued work together.

te papa GL kids
Dr Graham Leonard exploring plate tectonics with students.

Ben Kennedy

Project Co-Leader: Mitigate

Graham Leonard

Volcano Geologist