Pupils get political over stream

Victory Primary School pupils have turned their environmental studies into political action over the state of York Stream running alongside their school.

The pupils spent a term studying the health of the stream, and on Thursday took their concerns to the Nelson City Council.

At the council meeting they sang waiata, spoke about why they were worried about the stream, and presented Mayor Rachel Reese with a petition signed by six classes from the Māori medium unit.

Councillors applauded them on their commitment and work.

"The messages you have delivered today are very real and it's a very special thing to see tamariki taking a kaitiaki role for the awa in your area," said Ms Reese.

"Thank you for the work you have done.

"It's important that every stream and river in our city is moving in the direction of becoming a clean stream and we have some work to do like many cities in New Zealand to improve the health of our rivers and streams," she said.

Teacher Suzy Garlik was proud of the pupils who sang and spoke so well in a"nerve-racking" situation.

She said the group came away feeling empowered and she was impressed with the councillors' response.

Councillor Gail Noonan asked the students what could be done to help. Pupils said it would help if people picked up their litter.

The young citizens agreed with Councillor Matt Lawrey that there was a lack of rubbish bins along the railway reserve, which runs alongside the stream, and it would be good if more bins were put in.

The class had been focusing on learning about healthy streams for the past term. They prepared their performance over a week and had also created an interactive wall presentation on display at Nelson Public Library.

Deputy mayor Paul Matheson also took the opportunity to lead the council in thanking departing Victory Primary School principal Mark Brown for his commitment and contributions.

The Nelson Mail