Carvings mark the students' school journey
Our students are educated in a ‘school without walls’ as we acknowledge that all contexts and settings are essential in the education of our students. A student’s journey through Fairhaven is marked by a pathway beginning at our base school, moving through the Fairhaven satellite classes in Napier and Hastings and ending at our environmental classroom at Valhalla Farm west of Napier.
Carvings designed and made by the students, mark steps along the learning pathway. The first carving at Base tells as story of the environment. Tuna thrash through the river. The koru are the four winds, representing people being brought together and flora and fauna emerge at the top. On the back of the carving, students’ carved handprints tell of those involved.
The latest carving at the farm ‘Te Manu Korero – The Calling of the Birds’ shows connections between New Zealand culture and Norwegian background of the owner of Valhalla Farm. The crossbar uses the four winds to bring all people from across the world together. The eagle looks to the past and the future to show that connections to our ancestors will guide our journey. Beneath the crossbar, students carved their own story to include their cultural background. Korowai, patu and tiaha were made to commemorate each carving’s unveiling. At the farm’s powhiri, students gifted the korowai they had made for their hosts, wore their own korowai and carried their patu and taiaha. Their strength, emotion and connection with the environment were clear in their waiata and haka.
In the current stage, students and staff are in the process of designing and developing a wheelchair friendly pathway through a pocket of native bush so all students can access the environment with their classmates. Along the pathway will be areas for contemplation and investigation with sensory areas that reflect the natural environment and interactive stations that evoke curiosity. Each satellite unit is making contributions to these areas and the development of native bush. The pathway is ready for construction following meetings between the school, farm owners, community, engineers and contractors.
One of our High School teams is making weta houses for Valhalla. A weta house is a plank of wood drilled full of holes or rooms for the weta. Each weta house has seven rooms 50mm wide by 100mm long and 25mm deep. I asked Matua Merv how the weta house would attract weta? “Weta like very dark holes in wood. We will hang the weta houses in the trees at Valhalla.” We asked how we would know when the weta had moved in? “This could take up to 3 months. We will be putting clear plastic over the front of their houses so we can see what’s going on inside.” Matua Merv said that by building up the weta population it would attract more bed life to Valhalla.