Kura e Tai Āniwhaniwha: Tsunami risk reduction activities for kura in the Hawke’s Bay
Nā Lucy Carter
Kura Kaupapa Māori (kura) and bilingual schools are primary schools which operate fully or partially under Māori custom and have curricula developed to include te reo Māori. These schools were established to empower tamariki and ensure Māori language and culture are a significant influence in their education. To ensure Māori students are supported in their ability to flourish culturally it is important to respect the place of Māori kaupapa values, mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) and te reo in the resources developed for kura, bilingual and mainstream schools.
This is the case with natural hazard education, which is particularly important in Aotearoa New Zealand as a country vulnerable to a wide range of hazards. One of these is tsunami, which is of especially high risk in coastlines on the East Coast of the North Island along which the Hikurangi Subduction Zone lies. Because of the risk of near-source tsunami (which can reach land with a very small warning period) all sectors of the community must be prepared for a tsunami event. It is important that children are reached out to, not only due to their valuable role as information providers about hazards within their families, but to empower them to become disaster resilient and aware adults. Māori have an extensive knowledge of their local rohe and the history of hazards (both from the whenua and from the moana) which is often not appropriately recognised within mainstream hazard education resources. Researchers from the Joint Centre for Earthquake Research, Massey University and East Coast LAB in Napier have been funded by Resilience to Nature’s Challenges contestable funding to collaboratively develop a kete (tool kit) of tsunami risk reduction activities for kura and schools located in Hawke’s Bay’s tsunami evacuation zones. This will provide an opportunity for Māori knowledge, te reo and tikanga to inform culturally appropriate hazard education activates that are culturally and locally relevant for the students and the kura and school communities.
Before developing these activities the researchers wanted to find out what would be most useful for the kura and school communities. To do this they held hui with kura and school staff to provide specific information about tsunami risk in their community, to shed light on what teachers already know about tsunami risk, and find out what activities and knowledge they would find most useful for their students. Cross-cohort mentorship is a pathway for educating children in a child-centric disaster risk reduction model. This pilot project will be working with high school aged students over a course of a few weeks to develop tsunami education activities which will then be run with primary school-aged students. By following a student mentorship model, students will be able to take ownership of the resources they develop and the responsibility of running the activities with younger students may help reinforce the importance of tsunami preparedness.
Once the activities have been carried out, the researchers will evaluate the process to find out what aspects of the process and activity worked, as well as to identify challenges. Evaluation might be carried out through another hui, or surveys of and interviews with participants, or a combination of these. The research findings and a summary of the project will then be drafted into a research note for publication, with participants having the opportunity to give feedback before this was submitted.
The foundation of this research will be the partnership between the Māori-led research team and the school communities. This means that the activities will be designed by and for Māori, address Māori concerns, and be implemented in accordance with Māori values, research practices and health models. Participants, stakeholders and the researchers will also collaborate in identifying potential issues and opportunities throughout the research process.