After an education-filled day in learning about the past of our religion and how it transformed Auckland, the Year 9s had an education-filled day in learning about the past of our home, Aotearoa (New Zealand). The day combined education from three subjects, Social Studies (Cultures Meet), Science (Ecology), and R.E. (Caring for God’s creation).
The location for learning was Otuatua Stonefields historic reserve. A 100 hectare area which has been established to protect and preserve remains of communities which thrived on this land for hundreds of years. This area is known to be wāhi tapu (a sacred place) because of the importance of Māori heritage to all New Zealanders in the ‘land of the long white cloud’. Otuatua Stonefields has one of the best volcanic areas in Auckland, where you can see large scale stonework remains of how people once lived and worked.
With Mrs Stevens, the Year 9s learnt about the history of the area. We learnt about Māori history, the rocks used for farming, protection and for foundations of houses. We put ourselves in the lives of early Māori trying to survive in a new environment and later finding new people coming to these shores taking their land and their homes. This taught us about the past of our land, the roots and remains of New Zealand’s first people and how they lived and worked.
With Mr Camp, the Year 9s learnt more about ‘Caring for God’s creation’. Using examples around us, Mr Camp taught us the effects of growth. Through the water he taught us how it was once crystal-clear and filled with fish, eels and shellfish living in harmony. Today, due to urbanisation, the water is green and murky, no fish and eels and only a limited amount of poisoned shellfish are found. With the combination of a sewage plant, farming and many factories dumping all their waste in to the water, either intentionally or unintentionally, the water has turned into a poisonous area which is unsafe for swimming. This taught us to be careful. How one little piece of rubbish can contribute to a bigger and much worse problem.
Through Mr Williamson, Year 9s were told about ecology. Many would describe this as a ‘geology walk’, as the Year 9s would walk along the path and stop at certain areas and Mr Willamson would talk about the plants and pests. They learnt about native plants, their role and function, and how invasive species and pests, came and killed the plants. Year 9 learned that introduced pests and plants from Europe killed many native trees and animals.
Visiting Otuatua Stonefields historic reserve taught us a huge amount and made learning more entertaining through the walk. EOTC, education outside the class, has shown how to make education easier to learn and remember as you have fun doing it. The many walks we did, however tiring they were, a large percentage of Year 9s had fun and learnt loads; which was the goal! Through the teachers and the environment, Year 9s can feel more tethered to their home of Aotearoa which will help them make better decisions for our city, country and planet.