Inanga restoration project inspires future scientists

Muriwai School students investigate health of an inanga-spawning site near their school.

Muriwai School students investigate health of an inanga-spawning site near their school.

OUT-OF-CLASS LEARNING: Nga Mahi Te Taiao tutor Amy Hardy explains water-testing techniques to Muriwai School students. Student Matekino Puhia inspects the equipment. Pictures by Liam Clayton
FROM ONLINE TO OUTSIDE: Students learn about inanga, their habitat and testing water quality online before putting them to use at the inanga the spawning site. Muriwai School Sutdent Kimi Rangihuna collecting water to to study the health of the stream.
Paerangi Murray, Roshni Kumar, Chiarn Waikawa and Arihia Rangihuna checking out the stream.
SPING TIDES: Inanga spawn at this site on Pakowhai Stream during Spring tides. The long grass on the stream banks keeps the water warm and provides humid conditions, essential for the whitebait to spawn.
Inanga Restoration Project
Inanga Restoration Project

MURIWAI School students have been taking their out-of-class learning to the next level by investigating the health of an inanga-spawning site near their school.

In a segment of Pakowhai Stream, the students, from year 1 to year 8, monitor changes in habitat, water quality and study the aquatic life.

The Inanga Restoration Project is run by Gisborne-based natural resource advisory and project management team, Nga Mahi Te Taiao (NMTT).

The project is aimed at restoring inanga habitat, especially their spawning grounds, and is funded through a grant from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Curious Minds programme.

NMTT freshwater scientist Murray Palmer says Muriwai School is helping trial initiatives.

“This area is one of the better spawning sites in the area.”

It consists of a salt wedge, where seawater travels three to four kilometres from Te Wherowhero lagoon and sits under the freshwater.

During extra-large spring tides, inanga travel further up the stream and spawn in the long grass on the banks of the stream.

The exotic grasses provide humid conditions essential for spawning whitebait.

“They learn about how land use change can affect rivers, and get familiar with the water-monitoring techniques.”

Year 8 student Chiarn Waikawa says studying inanga is fun, especially studying outside.

“We learn how different water quality affects inanga, and the differences between fresh and sea water.

“Inanga need the long grass as it is where eggs are laid.”

She wants to continue learning about freshwater science in the future.

Muriwai School principal Parekura Brown says the stream-monitoring project holds a special interest for them.

“Our streams have a history for us. It is important the children understand that history and learn how to take care of it.

“Before this, we only knew about whitebait in a fritter, now the kids know all of the facts.”

Students learn about inanga and their habitat in class online, before coming down to the site and putting it into practice.

The project is supported by the nationwide group Whitebait Connection, and collaborates with Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust and Gisborne District Council, which are also developing restoration and enhancement initiatives for inanga.

MURIWAI School students have been taking their out-of-class learning to the next level by investigating the health of an inanga-spawning site near their school.

In a segment of Pakowhai Stream, the students, from year 1 to year 8, monitor changes in habitat, water quality and study the aquatic life.

The Inanga Restoration Project is run by Gisborne-based natural resource advisory and project management team, Nga Mahi Te Taiao (NMTT).

The project is aimed at restoring inanga habitat, especially their spawning grounds, and is funded through a grant from Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Curious Minds programme.

NMTT freshwater scientist Murray Palmer says Muriwai School is helping trial initiatives.

“This area is one of the better spawning sites in the area.”

It consists of a salt wedge, where seawater travels three to four kilometres from Te Wherowhero lagoon and sits under the freshwater.

During extra-large spring tides, inanga travel further up the stream and spawn in the long grass on the banks of the stream.

The exotic grasses provide humid conditions essential for spawning whitebait.

“They learn about how land use change can affect rivers, and get familiar with the water-monitoring techniques.”

Year 8 student Chiarn Waikawa says studying inanga is fun, especially studying outside.

“We learn how different water quality affects inanga, and the differences between fresh and sea water.

“Inanga need the long grass as it is where eggs are laid.”

She wants to continue learning about freshwater science in the future.

Muriwai School principal Parekura Brown says the stream-monitoring project holds a special interest for them.

“Our streams have a history for us. It is important the children understand that history and learn how to take care of it.

“Before this, we only knew about whitebait in a fritter, now the kids know all of the facts.”

Students learn about inanga and their habitat in class online, before coming down to the site and putting it into practice.

The project is supported by the nationwide group Whitebait Connection, and collaborates with Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust and Gisborne District Council, which are also developing restoration and enhancement initiatives for inanga.

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