Humble hangi's valuable lessons

TAO LIN
Last updated 05:00 19/06/2014
hangi students
Tao Lin

GREEN FINGERS: Sixty year 7 and 8 students from South Auckland Middle School are looking at the science behind a hangi. Back from left, Sione Vi, Phillip Ngametua, teacher Tangiatua Faireka, Andrew Loader, Villi Tuitoga. Front from left: Journey Maihi, Charity Longtime, Glorielle Filisi and Losaline Selupe.

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The traditional hangi is getting the scientific treatment as part of an environmental science project.

Year 7 and 8 students from South Auckland Middle School will be analysing various aspects of putting on a hangi for a project funded by pharmaceutical company Bayer through its primary school science fund.

The project will involve students planting their own crops on school property, preparing everything for the hangi and then hosting it.

Science and maths teacher Tangiatua Faireka says students will gain a vast range of knowledge from the outdoor learning experience including life cycles, geology, how energy cooks food, human digestion and the environment and its influence in producing crops.

"[We are] teaching more understanding of nature and the environment. The project helps link everything back to theory," Faireka says.

The students are excited about the project, especially the gardening and hangi parts, and a number of parents and families of students have contacted Faireka offering help with the project.

"We're very, very grateful [to Bayer]. We're especially grateful to receive this funding to help set up our science department. It supports outdoor learning for our students, it's fantastic."

Bayer managing director Dr Holger Detje says he's delighted to see so many schools embracing environmental science education.

"The students not only get to learn more about scientific methodology and the environment but in some cases their projects will benefit not only the school but the wider community too," he says.

The Bayer Primary School Science Fund fund is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand to give primary schools the chance to apply for funding to support environmental science education.

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- Manukau Courier

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