Kaitiakitanga – Tamariki explore pest control with respect at Ruawai Kindergarten

| By Ruawai Kindergarten teaching team

Tānemahuta atua Māori of the forest and all that dwells in it. Qualities of growth, strength, shelter, diversity of life.

Teaching staff at Ruawai Kindergarten have been following the Action Learning Cycle as they guide tamariki through an enquiry around the issue and control of rodents. This is their story so far.

This week we have been exploring different ways of getting rid of rodents from our learning environment – Rats – great timing as we had one visit us during the week, while trying out a new system we have been exploring – and it is working!! This is a more sustainable way and environmentally friendly process of ensuring we don’t use poisons in our Kindergarten.

Snap goes the trap!

We also ensure that the rat is returned to Papatūānuku in a very respectful manner – this is a very valuable part of the learning process. Our tamariki are being empowered to lead this learning with guidance, in a safe supportive manner – being able to explore the boxes that the traps will be in, (don’t worry the traps were not in the box when our tamariki were having hands on learning). Our kaupapa ako is a living curriculum with sustainability modelled and integrated into all learning and action. Our tamariki led the burial with their karakia to farewell the rat, paying respect to the animal – Bye Bye rat. Rest peacefully.


Learning about rodents and how to get rid of them without poisons.

Thoughtful planning leads to engagement and contribution.











“We said our Karakia because that’s what we do when people die and it will keep us safe”


” We even did some things and then buried the rat. I helped ‘cause I wanted to help, everyone helped”


” We sang a song to say goodbye to the rat”


The karakia the tamariki said was: “Haere ra moe more ra”


Bye Bye rat. Rest peacefully.

The rat is returned to Papatūānuku respectfully.











We have also been remodelling our Bug Whare. We added new equipment to make the bugs feel at home. There is still more to add. This has been great teamwork. The next part of our action cycle for the eradicating of rats is to take action, and we will be placing new rat traps around the learning environment next term. And of course there is more learning to come from this over time. Maybe with less rats our bugs, birds and berries will be safer.

Re-modelling the bug house. Let’s hope the rodents don’t eat our bugs.

We asked our whānau about the eradication of the rats during this process and they all agreed that they didn’t want them around the tamariki, and rat trapping is more friendly on the environment.

The benefits:

  • reducing use of toxic/poisonous substance in the natural environment,
  • tamariki and kaiako develop understandings and reasons why we need to remove these predators that are within our natural environment,
  • tamariki and kaiako, whānau/community are part of the teaching and learning around te o Māori – with the process of giving the carcass back to Papatūānuku – Kaitiakitanga return Tāne children to the Earth.


Ruawai Kindergarten teaching staff continue to seek ways of connecting these experiences towards developing holistic and ecological perspectives, decision-making, action, and reflecting on these so that they and create sustainable outcomes.

Banner Photo: Tamariki learn about rodents, the issues and how to control them in a respectful way.