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Articles & Videos

​Below are a list of resources that can be used to support student learning, research, and critical thinking around freshwater issues. These are articles from outside Taupō for Tomorrow - we do not own any of this content, or necessarily agree with the views therein.

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Kākahi, NZ's freshwater mussels, filter our waterways, providing important ecosystem services. But they're more than just that - they have life histories including a stint as a parasite on native fish, can live for up to 50 years, and (sadly) they're in decline.

This article is good for teacher background on the subject, or for students from about year 7 up. It provides character to what is often seen as an uncharismatic group of organisms.

This report can be used to help students investigate river health in their region. What are the targets? What are the issues? Why might this area have these issues while other areas don't? 

Pick and choose the parts of the report that work for your class study.

This article describes the unfortunate history of the Grayling - a fish that first became protected about 30 years after it's last sighting. This piece can be used to discuss how New Zealanders value their native freshwater fish, and how this affects conservation of these taonga.

"Nitrate, phosphate, sediment and microbes – these are the four horsemen of the aquatic apocalypse that ride across the country’s freshwater estate."

This National Geographic article describes the social, economic, and environmental conflict arising between primary industries and our natural environment - specifically fresh water.

This article describes steps proposed by freshwater advocates to improve the state of New Zealand waterways. The advocates include professionals in tourism, science, health, recreation and environmental spheres. It showcases the tension between economic and environmental outcomes for our freshwater.

General article about New Zealand eels and why they are special. Great introduction. Intermediate - secondary school level language.

A strongly worded opinion article on the state of freshwater and inaction in politics at the time. This piece may be useful in looking at the techniques writers use to influence readers.

Kakahi (freshwater mussels) have been in decline for some time; this article investigates possible reasons, although not in depth. This piece is interesting as it places trout as a possible cause of kakahi decline in Lake Taupō. Great for students looking at 'Striking the Balance' for cultural, economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au. I am the river, the river is me. This article, written for international audiences as it is, provides a simple overview of the legal recognition of the Whanganui River as having the rights and powers of a person. The Whanganui is one of the most well known and powerful examples of connection and whakapapa to awa. What is your local awa? What connection do your students feel to it? Why? Why not?

Fast, clear, rivers are front and centre when we talk about fresh water. What about our wetlands? New Zealand Geographic wades into the underrated value of these diminished places.

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Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro | Genesis | Awa Films | 9 April 2019

This mini-film celebrates the mahi of Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro, with support of Genesis, to restore some of their historic tuna culture. The video refers to the threats tuna (eels) face, including hydro-power dams, and the solutions that Ngāti Hikairo have used to reduce these impacts. It also has a great little animation of the life-cycle of tuna (long-fins in particular).

Narrated by tamariki and rangatahi, it's aimed at school-age students.

Alok Jha, Oliver Smyth | BBC | 14 January 2019

Easily accessible animation (incl. subtitles) to inspire interest in water itself.

Years 4+ with guidance (reference to molecules and atoms).

A claymation clip produced by Palmerston North student Sarah Ridsdale for the Outlook For Someday film challenge. 'Whenua' the whio learns about the unique features that make her special, and the threats her species face from DOC ranger Bubs.
Great learning opportunities, and inspiration for student projects!

Cawthron Institute | 2 October 2018

Explore the metaphor of river 'health' -  what does it mean? Does it mean the same thing for everyone? Does it include my needs, and my uses for the river?
Best for upper high school levels, but fine for all high school with a bit of vocabulary preparation.

Taranaki Mounga | 9 April 2018

A great little piece showing some of the mahi our conservation dogs (and handlers!) do, as well as some of the successes achieved through the whio 'breed-for-release' programme. Use to inspire students to fun careers, or just get them asking questions.

Easily understandable, fun clip explaining how the Whanganui River came to be recognised as 'legal person', and what it means. Great for secondary students of all ages.

Ngāi Tahu Mahinga Kai is a series featuring 12 ten minute episodes filmed in the stunning landscape of Te Waipounamu. It captures the stories and essence of traditional food gathering practices passed down through the generations.

For freshwater species, check out the videos on kanakana (lamprey), pātiki (flounder), tuna (eels), and īnaka (whitebait).

What Now's Ranger for a week winner Jazmin King sets off on an epic adventures with the Department of Consevation and the Whio! A great introduction to whio from a kid's perspective - use to launch your student inquiry.

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Life beneath the streets is always a mysterious, fascinating topics - hence Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! This 15 minute podcast follows the investigation of covered streams in Wellington. A good link to stormwater education, as the streams are now effectively stormwater drains. Could also be a starting point for a creative writing piece.

Upper-primary to high-school.

An in depth, roaming interview (about half an hour) putting the spotlight on science and emotions surrounding our whitebait species. Relevant to Social Science of most levels, but the type and length of recording makes it more suitable to high school audiences.

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