Far North Enviroschools Facilitator Shoda Tua recently facilitated a ngāhere protection event at Ahipara School for Year 5-8 students in conjunction with Northland Regional Council’s (NRC) Kaitaia office.
What was initially planned as a kauri protection presentation to introduce new Virtual Reality (VR) goggles soon turned into a day encompassing multiple environmental themes during a ‘visit to the ngāhere’. This involved having three different stations focusing on kauri protection, animal pest control and identifying pest plants, which all help the ngāhere to thrive.
Shoda says the ngāhere protection events have been a great success, tamariki were engaged and enjoyed the morning with NRC staff.
The kauri protection station, run by Biosecurity Officer Candace Rameka involved the youngsters wearing VR goggles, transporting them on an interactive journey to a time when ancient kauri and native bush thrived in Aotearoa.
Next, the group discussed the rigorous cleaning process that needs to take place every time we enter the ngāhere to preserve its existence and help prevent the spread of kauri dieback disease. Each student had a turn using the portable cleaning station learning how to correctly scrub, check and spray disinfectant on their shoes and gear before heading into the ngāhere.
Shoda said the most popular station was the pest control area. Biosecurity Officer Clayton Rameka displayed some of the taxidermy pest animals that threaten native bush and demonstrated how to catch possums and stoats – much to the delight of the tamariki.
The final station was run by fellow Biosecurity Officer, Ceres Sharp who talked about the different varieties of pest plants in our environment, before taking students on a walk around the school to identify the pest plants around them. There were even giveaways for those who correctly identified the different pest plants in the wild!
Shoda says the morning was a whole lot of fun and gave tamariki an extra special experience. She is excited about rolling out the ‘visit to the ngāhere’ event to more Te Hiku schools in 2024!