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Pahoia School - Matt Finnigan

2019 | The environmental history of our coasts and harbours

School: Pahoia School

Host: University of Waikato, Coastal Marine Field Station

Region: Tauranga, Bay of Plenty

Pahoia School has the vision ‘To be a community of globally aware and locally grounded, confident, lifelong learners’. Pahoia School values curiosity, risk, and a willingness to get things wrong while learning. We see science as a perfect curriculum platform to achieve our vision. The school is situated amongst mountains, rivers, and our beautiful Tauranga Moana, as well as being very central to horticulture and farming. The Science Teaching Leadership Programme provides a pathway to foster passion and curiosity for science, love for the local environment, and an understanding of location in a global context. The programme will provide deeper understanding of the Nature of Science and improved student knowledge, skills, and confidence.

 Matt has had 21 years’ experience of teaching in primary schools with time spent in Palmerston North, Lima-Peru, Tauranga, and Pahoia. He has spent the last five years involved with Senior Team Management and has a passion for teaching writing, science, outdoor education and languages. He has always seen science as a powerful way to engage learners with the world around them, and to also open up a new world that they didn't know even existed.

 Matt has been hosted by Dr Phil Ross from the Coastal Marine Field Station. This placement has meant field trips to Northland to study Toheroa (shellfish). He has worked with PhD and Masters students researching around disease, the impact of the South Island Pied Oystercatcher, and archaeological midden sites. Matt has also been part of a team monitoring the Tauranga harbour for the Asian Paddle Crab, and the Mediterranean Fan Worm. He has been involved with sea lettuce experiments, sea grass monitoring, biopsies of eagle rays, and surveying and sample dredging for Port Tauranga. All of these experiences have given Matt a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of our harbour and waterways. He has learned about the importance of collaboration between scientists, of persistence with research, and the obvious passion scientists have for their work.

 The Science Leadership Programme has given Matt clear understanding of the NZ Science Curriculum and how to embed the Nature of Science into the curriculum of Pahoia School. The programme has also given Matt insight into his leadership abilities and a clear vision for the future. Matt wishes to thank Royal SocietyTe Apārangi, Dr Phil Ross, Matt Bennion, and the University of Waikato for a fabulous learning experience he will never forget.