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Seaweek – Kaupapa Moana

Seaweek – Kaupapa Moana 2020 takes place from 29 February to 8 March.

This year the theme is Connecting With Our Seas and we have this whakatauki:

Ko au te moana, ko te moana ko au  –  I am the sea, the sea is me

About Seaweek

Seaweek is New Zealand’s annual national week about the sea. Hosted by the NZ Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE), Seaweek focuses on learning about the ocean because it is so important to all our lives, no matter how far you are from it! Seaweek is a time for all of us to get to know our ocean, its habitats, characteristics, and inhabitants better. Seaweek offers a range of activities, opportunities, competitions, and calls to action.

Curriculum connections

Seaweek supports students to develop understandings around the theme of sustainability, which is integral to the vision, principles, and key competencies of the New Zealand Curriculum. Seaweek also encourages students to explore the living world strand of the science curriculum, the concepts of place and environment in the social sciences curriculum, and values such as community and participation, and care for the environment.


How can you get involved in Seaweek?

Some ideas for classroom programmes or school-wide activities:

Explore kaitiakitanga: Explore the concept of kaitiakitanga with your students and encourage them to think of ways that they can become kaitiaki of local waterways. The following texts from the Instructional Series might be useful sources of information, ideas, and inspiration:

Visit your local beach: Organise a trip to your local beach with your students and whānau. The day could be about connecting with whānau, studying the beach habitat, and/or taking action to improve the physical environment of your beach.

Clean your waterways: Work with your students to organise a local beach or waterway clean up. Think of ways to get the whole school, whānau, and wider community involved. You could contact the Department of Conservation to find out if there is a local conservation project you can assist with.

Wage a war on plastic: Investigate the impact of plastic consumption on the health of our seas and take action to reduce the damage. The School Journal article Plastic-free Challenge explains how a class of New Zealand students took action to combat plastic pollution.

Fundraise: Organise a fundraising initiative to raise funds for an environmental organisation such as Greenpeace, Plastic Oceans, or the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

Māori and Pasifika myths: Read Māori and Pacific legends about the sea to gain an understanding of the sea’s spiritual importance to people of different cultures. The following links might be useful:

Check out Young Ocean Explorers: If you are a primary teacher you might like to register on the Young Ocean Explorers website and share the videos and quizzes about New Zealand’s fascinating underwater world with your students.

Get involved in events: Visit the events page of the Seaweek website to see if there is a local event that you can get involved in or take part in the LEARNZ Sustainable Seas field trip.

Instructional Series

The Instructional Series offers a range of texts about the sea, sustainability, and ocean life. Here are some of the latest:

Under the Sea 

Connected 2018 Level 4

This article reports on a survey of a 100-metre long rocky reef located 11 kilometres off the Taranaki coast. Students from local high schools are partnering with divers, biologists, engineers, fishers, and local iwi to discover and record the plants and animals that make the reef their home. The article focuses on the survey methods being used and the different technologies involved in each method.

Tiakina a Tangaroa 

School Journal, Level 2 October 2011

This article, about a class’s science investigation, recounts how the students compare the sea life of a “protected” marine reserve with that at an “unprotected” beach. They discover clear differences and identify the harm people do to the environment by littering. The students raise community awareness of the issue by organising a sponsored parade. 

Connected 2014 level 3

Scientists know that global warming is leading to rising sea levels, but the rate of change and its likely impact are less clear. Scientists investigate what is happening and use the evidence to suggest how we might adapt to the changes.

Useful resources

Seaweek website
Visit the Seaweek website to find information about events, resources, and competitions.

Seaweek on Facebook
Join the Seaweek community on Facebook to find teaching ideas and to keep up to date with what is happening.

Marine metre squared
The NZ Marine Studies Centre, University of Otago, is encouraging everyone to participate in long term monitoring of their marine environment. Individuals, families, schools, and community groups can take part.

LEARNZ is a free online programme for students at curriculum levels 2–8, targeting science, geography, social studies, arts and technology. LEARNZ is offering a Sustainable Seas field trip during Seaweek. Each field trip includes background resources, student activities, teacher support, and curriculum ideas to prepare students for a 3–4 day interactive experience.

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.

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.

Meet the Locals
This TVNZ series follows different local conservation issues and projects including the protection of our beaches and sea life.

Understanding kaitiakitanga – Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
This section of Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand has links and information about kaitiakitanga, a way of managing the environment, based on the traditional Māori world view. It explores the concepts of guardianship, protection, preservation, and sheltering. The page can be viewed in English or te reo Māori.

Conservation organisations in your community

You might like …

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.

Do you have a story to share about education for sustainability?

  • How do you include education for sustainability in your school curriculum?
  • What ocean 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.

Published on: 21 Feb 2019