News and Events

Water for Life – Resilient Communities in a Changing Climate

December 2, 2020
Dozens of Year Four to Eight students, their whānau and teachers gathered at separate Whangārei and Kaipara Enviroschools expo events in November to learn about the impacts the climate has on the region’s water resources and ways to take action to find possible solutions to local issues.


Students negotiate the spiky rushes on the edge of the salt marsh walkway.

‘Water for Life – resilient communities in a changing climate’ was the theme of this year’s Northland Regional Council Enviroschools Expo series. The various activities undertaken in each of the 1-day events emphasised two of the Enviroschools key concepts: that water is essential for life but can be a scarce resource and that the importance of water is reflected in culture and society.

Students observed tuna/eels that were netted near  the Northpower Wairua Hydroelectric station as part of learning about local freshwater ecology with Parawhau hapū. They also took part in elver transfer, where juvenile tuna are captured downstream of the power station and safely released upstream.


Students get to find out about the water use in dairy farming and the power of a high pressure hose.

The Whangārei expo also saw pupils visit the Draffin dairy farm at Poroti and Whangārei’s Hopua te Nihotetea flood detention dam. Students from Hikurangi, Maromaku, Whau Valley, Karetu and Whangarei primary schools learned how these industries, ecosystems and flood works are all impacted by water and the climate.

The Kaipara expo saw students from Kaiwaka and Tinopai schools and Ruawai College participate in a variety of water-related activities at three sites, Thornton dairy farm at Maungataroto, Paparoa Lions’ walkway and Ruawai stop-banks and water filtration plant.


Participants clean their shoes before entering the Paparoa Lions Walkway to keep Kauri safe from dieback.

Collectively, the expos focussed on the impacts of droughts and flooding on ecosystems, industries and people via flood works. Our changing climate will impact on freshwater availability in Northland, and we will need to work with nature to become resilient and meet the needs of our future communities and environment.

Northland Regional Council, introduced the annual expos, led by the Enviroschool facilitation team and engaging council and community experts, more than a decade ago as a fun, exciting and hands-on learning experience. Each year the Enviroschools Kaupapa and Guiding Principles are woven through a different theme which builds knowledge, understanding and skills of how to live more sustainably.


Fresh water ecologist Jacques Boubee talks about tuna/ eels.

Whau Valley Principal and students carry out a soil test.








Hikoi to Wairua hydro power station.

Banner image: Students observed tuna/eels that were netted near the Northpower Wairua Hydroelectric station as part of learning about local freshwater ecology with Parawhau hapū.