School stream a winner for pupils

Hira students' doco wins national award

JAMES GREENLAND
Last updated 15:05 06/12/2013
Hira School
JAMES GREENLAND/FAIRFAX NZ
WATER WATCH: Hira School pupils Harry Timms, left, Logan Hunter, teacher Tia Fraser, and Meg Currie, of Hira School, have won an award for their documentary on the Wakapuaka Stream.

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A documentary about Hira School's beloved local stream has won six students and their teacher a national film-making award.

Year sixes Dhillon Rhone, Laura Havill, Isla Richardson, Harry Timms, Meg Currie and Logan Hunter, and their teacher Tia Fraser, this year produced "Stream Monitoring at Wakapuaka", which has been named as one of the national winners in the Outlook for Someday national film challenge.

The challenge asks young people to make a short sustainability-related film of any genre, and any length up to five minutes.

Hira School's film documents their long-term river conservation project, and gives examples of the tests pupils carry out to determine how healthy their stream is.

As one of the film's stars says: "If it's too fast, all the bugs will be swept away. If it is too slow, all the rocks get covered in algae."

Tennis balls are used to test water speed, keen young eyes check the water clarity, and rocks are turned over to document the variety of larvae-life in the habitat. Pupils also record the stream's temperature, and depth.

Teacher Jane Pearson has been running regular tests for the past 12 years, making use of a SHMAK - Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment Kit - provided by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

Four times each year Niwa gathers the results, and the data is analysed as a general indicator of the waterway's well-being.

Ms Pearson said the stream's health has stayed relatively consistent since Hira School started its monitoring project. That was probably because there had not been a lot of development along its banks.

"Stream monitoring has always been a privilege of the year sixes. It's fun, they love it," she said.

"Some are into the monitoring side of things, some are into the bugs."

Ms Fraser said the students had all grown up alongside the river. Studying conservation at a young age has given them an appreciation of all the things they need it for - like fresh water for their homes, she said.

Logan Hunter certainly knows why it's important to maintain a healthy Wakapuaka stream: "Otherwise we will have no water left, and what's left will be polluted and then we can't drink it".

Ms Fraser and the film's designated producer Meg Currie, 11, travelled to Auckland yesterday, where they walked the red-carpet to accept their award. They also heard a talk from the director of Mr Pip, New Zealander Andrew Adamson.

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