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Wainui Beach School – Storm Dunn

2019 | Restoring the Mauri of the Waipaoa River

School: Wainui Beach School

Host: Mahaki Trust

Region: Gisborne

Wainui Beach School has a philosophy of ‘Lighting Up Learning’. The school sees participation in this programme as an opportunity for the science team to build greater depth of understanding of the Nature of Science. Science is a pathway to help provide the knowledge, skills and dispositions for our students in this rapidly changing world. The Science Teaching Leadership Programme provides an opportunity to improve leadership of science in the school. It also  enables the development of the Nature of Science to be integrated within the curriculum so  that it engages and continues to ‘light up’ our students understanding about science.

 Storm has had 17 primary teaching experience in Gisborne. During this time she has had the opportunity to develop a diverse range of teaching and learning facilitation skills in a wide variety of curriculum areas. She has a background as a curriculum leader in numeracy, literacy, health & P.E.  and  to add to the weave of her kete  she has been the SENCO for several years.

 Storm has been hosted by Ian Ruru as part of the Mahaki Trust iwi research team in Turanganui-a-Kiwa. Her placement involved a wide variety of learning opportunities to observe and practice scientific skills that supported her understanding of the Nature of Science in authentic contexts.

 Storm’s work with the Ian Ruru included the following:

  • Using the innovative mauricompass.com framework to assess the decline in the mauri (life force) of the waterways and as a toolkit for remedial action.
  • Assisting in the freshwater monitoring programme for the ancestral  Waipaoa river (also other waterways in the rohe) of the Mahaki Trust.
  • The study of the traditions, tikanga (practices) and mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge systems) of the Waipaoa catchment.
  • Assessments of key mahinga kai sites of significance (traditional food gathering places).
  • Attending hui locally and nationally observing Ian as an expert in his field (applying his analysis of water quality using the mauricompass.com); participating in workshops involving development of national and local policy.
  • The use of field equipment to assess the status of eel species and water chemistry (pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, clarity).

Her placement involved developing an understanding of kaupapa Māori (Māori world view, philosophy) shared anecdotally through historical stories and detail gathered from two hundred marae in Aotearoa. This combined with the scientific knowledge shared and modeled by Ian has given her a deeper understanding of the significance of ‘mauri’ as an integral part of the scientific framework mauricompass.com.

 Finally through these many experiences, combined with time for professional reading, Storm has developed a clearer understanding of the ‘Nature of Science’.  Through her host experiences she has developed a contextual understanding of how the Nature of Science presents in the real world and the world of kaupapa Māori. The Science Teaching Leadership Programme has provided Storm with an incredible professional learning journey.

 With such a broad range of experiences Storm is looking forward to taking her new understandings and applying them to authentic educational contexts. She will do this by working with her school and community to create and implement a curriculum that reflects the needs of the culturally diverse students to support their development as scientifically literate citizens.