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Earth Day, 22 April 2019

This page might include information, links, and events that are specific to 2019. It will be updated as soon as 2020 information becomes available.

Earth Day is celebrated every year on 22 April. Earth Day is a global event where people honour the natural environment and raise awareness of environmental issues that trouble the world.

This page is a portal of resources and stories that support both Earth Day and education for sustainability throughout the school year.

Curriculum connections

The theme of sustainability is evident throughout The New Zealand Curriculum. It is integral to the vision, principles, values, and key competencies, and provides relevant and authentic contexts across the eight learning areas. More detailed information on how education for sustainability links to the curriculum can be found in our education for sustainability support package.


TKI resources about sustainability

Education for sustainability
This package helps teachers engage students in learning about sustainability. It makes connections between the learning areas, vision, principles, values, and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

Quick links to:

Guidelines for Environmental Education in New Zealand Schools
This is the online version of Guidelines for Environmental Education in New Zealand Schools, published in 1999 for the Ministry of Education by Learning Media Limited.

Education for sustainability teaching and learning guide
This senior secondary guide has been designed to help teachers create quality teaching and learning programmes in education for sustainability for students in years 11–13.

Future focus principle
This section draws together research, digital resources, and examples to support teachers as they consider the future focus principle. Sustainability is included as a suggested context for future focused learning.

Education for enterprise units
These education for enterprise units use sustainability as a context for learning. You can adapt the ideas to meet the needs of your students, school, and community.

Unit plans Suggested learning areas

PDF icon. Eco warriors (PDF, 70 KB)

In this level 2 unit, students explore how human actions can affect the natural environment, and take an active role in becoming an eco-friendly citizen.


PDF icon. Electricity usage (PDF, 29 KB)

In this level 5–7 unit, students investigate electricity usage in the school.


PDF icon. Energy audit (PDF, 32 KB)

In this level 4-7 unit, students do energy audits of their own home, identifying potential areas of efficiency concerns.


PDF icon. Waste in New Zealand (PDF, 35 KB)

In this level 4-6 unit, students learn about waste in New Zealand and take action in their own community.

Social sciences

In your resource rooms ...

Designed for Good

The New Zealand environment has been badly affected by introduced pests such as rats, stoats, and possums. “Designed for Good” follows the process of developing an effective and humane trap to reduce these pest populations. 

The Possum Problem

The Possum Problem

This story from School Journal Level 3 August 2017 explores the problems that possums pose to the New Zealand environment.

A Grin From Ear to Ear

This story from School Journal, Level 2 October 2011 sees A boy and his koro enjoy a day fishing together. When the boy reels in the biggest fish he has ever caught, Koro tells him to release the fish. By explaining that it will go on to produce more in the future, Koro shares his values and traditions about sustainability with his moko.

What now for the Rena?

In 2011, the MV Rena struck Astrolabe Reef and caused an environmental disaster. What factors were considered when making the decision on the future of the Rena wreck?

After the Spill

This Level 4 book from Connected 2013 - Are You Sure? explores what would happen if an oil spill occurred on your local beach. How would it affect you now and in the future?


Book cover of Figure It Out – Sustainability

Figure It Out – Sustainability
This Level 3 book from the Figure It Out series uses sustainability as a context for learning in science and mathematics and statistics.

Timber, School Journal, Level 3, November 2011
This journal article describes how trees have been used in New Zealand and the impact people have had on our native forests. Teacher Support Material is available for this text.

Lighting the Way with Solar Energy, Connected 2015, Level 4
This article describes how Tokelau uses solar energy as a cost-effective option suited to the sunny Tokelauan climate.

Rising Seas, Connected 2014, Level 3
This article explores the relationship between global warming and rising sea levels. Scientists investigate what is happening and use the evidence to suggest how we might adapt to the changes.

Conservation organisations in your community

 School stories that show education for sustainability in action

Find out how schools are designing their curriculum to include connections to sustainability.

Students set up new homes for penguins at Oakura School
Students from Oakura School have been working with the Department of Conservation to encourage little blue penguins to return to the area to nest.

The pathway project
Students from Fairhaven School use a pocket of local bush to develop an environmental technology project. 

Cashmere High School a finalist in global energy competition
A team from Christchurch’s Cashmere High School made the shortlist finals in a prestigious global energy sustainability competition, after helping cut electricity usage at their school by almost one third.

You might like ...

Sustainability video collection on Technology Online
This video collection on Technology Online shows how schools are exploring sustainability through the technology learning area.

Do have a story to share about education for sustainability?

  • How do you include education for sustainability in your school curriculum?
  • What sustainability projects have your students been involved in?

We would love to hear from you. Drop us a line at nzcurriculum@tki.org.nz. We will publish the best teaching and learning ideas on this resource page.

Updated on: 13 Mar 2017