Session 1

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the session students will be able to …
• name the physical features of their local stream
• describe its history through stories from mana whenua


Set up a wall display:
• Map/s of local area showing your local (nearest) stream
• Photos of your stream (leave room for more to add later)
• Books on streams, rivers, water cycle, freshwater fish, plants and insects (see resource list and website links)
• Legends, poems, stories, songs relating to streams

The Whau, our streams, our river, our backyard
Available from the Council website (includes, maps, history, stories of the Whau and its streams)

Curriculum links

Key competencies

• Thinking
• Using language
• Relating to others
• Participating and communicating

Social Studies, Science, English, Maths


1. Prior knowledge

Using the wall display of maps and photos of your local catchment area, put students into small groups to come up with some questions and answers about their local stream. The teacher could give some examples to get them started …

Where does our stream start?
• Where does it end?
• What is our stream called?
• How did it get its name?
• How close is the stream to our school?
• What lives in our stream?
• What lives beside our stream?

The groups share their questions and answers and collate the information in the first two columns of a KWL chart (what we Know, what we Want to know, what we have Learned). You can revisit this chart during your inquiry and review it in the final session.

Extract the big question for your inquiry … eg Laingholm School’s question: “How do changes in our streams affect the wildlife in them?”
or “What can you do to make Laing Stream healthy again?”

Place this on your wall display. Revisit from time to time.

In pairs or small groups, students can develop 2 – 4 minor questions to help answer the big question. Record these in their books.

2. Local stories

Find someone who has lived in your local community for some time who may be able to share /talk about your local stream (grandparents, kaumatua, former pupils, local identities).

For example the following is Frank’s story which he shared with Laingholm students when he visited the school:

My name is Frank. A long time ago I was a boy about your age. I used to go eeling, drink the water and swim in Laing Stream. My mates and I used to catch koura as well. Now all I hear when I walk around Laingholm is people telling children, “Don’t drink the water, don’t eat the eels or koura”, and signs saying ‘Keep Away’ from Laing Stream. I wonder why things have caused changes around Laing Stream and how we can get back to using the stream like when I was a boy.

Invite him/her to talk to your students. Students could prepare interview questions.


• Students could draw a map of their local area and place their stream, home and/ or school on it.

In the streams and estuaries, the Maori caught eels (tuna) with spears, pots and weirs, and kanae (mullet) with nets … The small freshwater fish, the inanga were caught and eaten fresh or preserved …
Prehistoric Archaeological Sites of the Waitakere Ranges and West Aucklandby B W Hayward and J T Diamond, 1978



Session 1
Up the Creek
Session 2
Wai … it goes round and round
Session 3
Oh for a cool stream!
Session 4
Hey! Watch where you chuck your muck!
Session 5
Time to Come Clean
Session 6
We’re Scheming for a Clean Stream