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Enviroschools Rangatahi from Te Tau Ihu head to Abel Tasman National Park for a Hui

July 4, 2024

Sharing ecological experiences.

What a brilliant weekend! On the 25-26th May, 24 rangatahi from local secondary kura gathered at the Anchorage Hut in the Abel Tasman National Park (ATNP). The weekend hui was organised by Project Janszoon, (a philanthropic trust helping restore the park’s rich natural diversity), and Enviroschools Facilitators from Whakatū and Te Tai o Aorere.


The ATNP Hui, a highlight on the local Enviroschools calendar for secondary school students, brings together like-minded enviro-students to build understanding of how the park is managed, monitored and protected. A range of ecological activities were integrated into the bush walks and at night rangatahi set minnow traps, viewed glowworms, and later, melted marshmallows around the campfire. On Sunday, students retrieved and checked their minnow traps and measured and recorded the various fish they caught. This was part of their assessment of water quality in the local stream.


Bold moves.

Students participated in leadership activities and were challenged to consider strategies and activities they could run with their school’s Environment Groups to encourage others to join. They openly discussed the challenges and positive experiences when leading their environment groups.
Ideas were exchanged on school-based activities that went well and what they did to organise and run them.


A student said, “We had a lot of new experiences, and everyone was enthusiastic”.

The students enjoyed being out in the environment and learning about ecology and feedback indicated this hui was a very positive experience.

A student commented: “It exceeded my expectations. The weekend was fun, eye-opening, inspiring and the activities were perfect for the hui”.

Overall, the aims of the hui were achieved – the students enjoyed a superb weekend with others, leaving with a feeling of being empowered to do more for the environment and at their schools. They also enjoyed the opportunity to be in a national park participating in authentic activities that promoted sustainable principles.

A student commented: “Really fun, cool people, got to learn a lot and lead some activities”.

Checking out the fish caught in the minnow traps.

Student empowerment

After their involvement in the hui at ATNP student were inspired to take collective action.

One outcome from the Secondary Hui at ATNP saw students working together to create a community Ball shop. Donated secondhand garments and accessories went on display and sale in a Pop-up op shop over 3 days. Nelson Environment Centre and Habitat for Humanity got behind the student organisers, along with fellow students contributing to the range of items available at affordable prices.

Local paper, Nelson Mail, published an article “Having A Ball without Breaking the Bank,” (republished by stuff here) celebrating the collaboration between 3 secondary schools to enable access to ball attire.

Rangatahi gather together to contribute to the local restoration project on the Grampians.

A local community group is working at clearing invasive weeds and planting more natives on the Grampian Hills. The Enviro-students found out about this initiative and asked if they could help with weeding and planting. They worked under the supervision of the local expert to undertake planting of 30 native plants.

Students plant a young titoki tree on the Grampians.