A morning at Papatoetoe South School was recently spent sharing and celebrating the learning and action for a sustainable future that has taken place in the school. Students were strongly supported by key Enviroschools teachers Maureen and Ragini, Principal Caroline, Assistant Principals Paul, Vicki and Maylene, Enviroschools Learning Support Aide (ELSA) Inez, previous key teacher Diane Cooney and parents. As it was Niuean week, the staff room and hallways were decorated in Niuean taonga displays.
Their bilingual unit, Te Puna Ākona, welcomed everyone in a most beautiful whakatau. Waiata were led by two young girls with extraordinary voices followed by pepeha introductions, kōrero and acknowledgements.
The green team students, ranging in age from 5 to 10 years, shared all the mahi they have done, how they have involved many of the staff and students on their Enviroschools journey since they joined (prior to lock down) and what they want to do next. We all went on a hīkoi to be shown examples of changes around the school through action. Some parents were so inspired they have offered to come and work in the gardens regularly!
Not only is this a strong bronze Enviroschool, but the school shows depth in te ao Māori, Iwi connection and staff competency. The mural of their pepeha is a must see if you are in the neighbourhood! (see banner photo). Kerry Marshall-Harding, teacher in year 5/6, collaborated with others to create five pukapuka for students in te reo Māori about local pūrākau shared by local kaumātua. He has given copies to all the kura in Manurewa. They are also available in libraries, and these were the inspiration for the mural.
Thank you and congratulations to you all on a very moving and significant journey so far. We look forward to supporting you in your vision of becoming a Zero Waste school and connecting you with Hari Narayan from Compost Collective to assist you on your next steps!
By Cate Jessep, Enviroschools Facilitator, Sustainable Schools Advisor, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland