Iwi and schools work together to revive Manukau Harbour

By Talisa Kupenga

Kauri Flats School and Conifer Grove School students were mucking in at the Manukau Harbour today assessing water quality and surveying life in the area. The schools are collecting data with help of Ngāti Te Ata and Ngāti Tamaoho.

Today students from South Auckland are collecting trash to preserve a waterway treasure.

Kauri Flats School student Saiesha Naidoo says, "[the rubbish] will make the sea animals die and I don't want that to happen because I like sea creatures,"

Conifer Grove School's Blake Swift says, "All of them will die and we won’t have fish for food."

Eleven-year-old Olivia Blake says, "There will be nothing out there and there will be no point in going to the beach."

Conifer Grove School and Kauri Flats School were marine scientists today, gathering data about the health of the Manukau Harbour, water quality and the creatures living in the area.

Kauri Flats School teacher Nick Pattinson says, "There's been a decrease in native fish within the harbour and so we've been working with local iwi and different scientists investigating is it possible to reintroduce different species, for example flounder."

The students paddled a waka [traditional canoe] on the harbour under the guidance of Ngāti Te Ata. The iwi is a strong advocate for reviving the water quality in the Manukau.

Ngāti Te Ata spokesperson Riki Minhinnick says, "It's still polluted. So how do you fix that? You teach the children about pollution so they grow up knowing what's right and they understand their connection to the water. Even though these kids are from different cultures our job as the indigenous people in this area is to teach them this knowledge.”

Next, the data will be collated to determine the findings.