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Environmental education

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council supports environmental learning through a range of education programmes and resources.

About Environmental Education

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council supports environmental learning through a range of education programmes and resources. Environmental education aims to develop awareness, understanding and a sense of commitment towards the environment. It should also help students to develop environmentally responsible attitudes and a commitment to help keep our environment a safe and secure place for future generations.



In this resource we have included karakia for a range of purposes, both Christian and in the the traditional style, to tautoko or support enviroschools in that exploration.


In traditional times, karakia were integral and indispensable parts of the way of doing things. There were different karakia for different tasks and situations e.g. planting a garden, greeting the new day, harvesting natural resources, launching a waka, calming a storm. Karakia invoked spiritual guidance and protection, but was not necessarily “worship” of those spiritual elements. Karakia was one of the ways Māori recognised and gave effect to the whanaungatanga, or web of relationships, between all things.

Christianity’s introduction changed the practice and meaning of karakia. The Bible was translated into te reo Māori and ‘prayer’ was translated as ‘karakia’. Like many translations from the language of one people within the context of their world view to another, it wasn’t entirely accurate. However for many Māori who took up Christianity, in time the words became synonymous and the karakia used most frequently were Christian. Traditional karakia began to be lost.

Why we use them today

As Māori have worked to reclaim lost language and culture, traditional karakia and new karakia in the traditional style have appeared again and are being used more frequently in increasingly wider contexts.

The word karakia has come to mean both prayer and traditional karakia.

Increasingly mainstream primary schools and early childhood settings are exploring the use of karakia. These karakia have come from a range of sources, including the Enviroschools Kit.

Karakia tīmatanga

Karakia tīmatanga (tīmata – to begin) at the beginning of a day or gathering is a way to focus and settle, to be still for a moment and connect with others, and to acknowledge our spiritual element in whatever way is appropriate for the group and occasion. 

Whakataka te hau

A traditional karakia, it is said this was originally used at sea in the face of an impending storm. It is now used widely in education to begin the day or a learning session. Its use of figurative language makes it useful as a literacy text, with the opportunity to explore occasions that figurative language is used in English and Māori. It can be recited or sung, with two tunes to choose from! There are multiple websites with information, translations and sound files.

Whakataka te hau ki te uru
Cease the winds from the West
Whakataka te hau ki te tonga
Cease the winds from the South
Kia mākinakina ki uta, kia mātaratara ki tai
Let the gentle breezes blow over the land
E hī ake ana te atākura
Let the red tipped dawn come
He tio, he huka, he hauhū
With a sharpened air, a touch of frost
Tīhei mauriora!
A promise of a glorious day!

Audio Soundbite

When introducing this karakia to children, we ask them what is distinctive about the westerly – it is often very strong and with some local variation is our prevailing wind, and the southerly – it is rather cold. (There are wonderful opportunities to veer off into weather and compass directions.) We talk about sea and land breezes – “ki uta” means on to the land, and “ki tai” means towards the sea or offshore.

Depending on the age of children, we investigate how land and sea breezes are created by temperature changes of land and sea between day and night. Children share experiences of watching the sun come up from the horizon at dawn and what it feels like at that time of the morning, especially in autumn or winter – a fantastic camp activity. This discussion allows children to connect with the metaphor in the karakia.

Metaphorically we are trampling or dissipating any negative forces that might impact on our focus or learning for the day, instead inviting gentle forces to support and encourage us. We are inviting the discovery and learning that a new day brings, with the feeling of anticipation, excitement and feeling alive that you get at dawn on a cold morning.

Tukua te wairua

Tukua te wairua kia rere ki ngā taumata
Allow your spirit to soar to its potential
Hai ārahi i a tātau mahi
To guide us in our work
Me tā tātau whai i ngā tikanga a rātau mā
And in our pursuit of the tikanga of our ancestors
Kia mau kia ita
Take hold and preserve it
Kia kore ai e ngaro
Ensure it is never lost
Kia pupuri
Hold fast
Kia whakamaua
Secure it
Kia tina! TINA! Hui e! TAIKI E!
Draw together! Affirm!

Audio Soundbite

He honore he korōria

He honore, he korōria ki te Atua
Honour and glory to God
Maungārongo ki te whenua
Let there be peace and tranquillity on Earth
Whakaaro pai ki ngā tāngata katoa
Goodwill to all people

Audio Soundbite

Karakia whakamutunga


In the traditional style, this karakia is used in closing a day, hui or perhaps a distinct learning session where people will then go back to their usual activities. The translation below is my attempt to provide an explanation that children of all ages can identify with easily - it is not a literal translation. The parts in bold everyone says together (with gusto!).

Hikitia hikitia te rongomaiwhiti o tēnei wānanga
Tukua kia ea, tukua kia ōi
Ko Ranginui ki runga
Ko Papatūānuku ki raro
Tūturu whakamaua kia tina (tina)
Hui e, tāiki e!

Lift the sacredness and focus of this learning session
Let it go so that we can return to the everyday world
Where Ranginui is above us and Papatūānuku is below us.

Audio Soundbite

Kia tau

This is a Christian prayer commonly used to end a gathering or, in a number of schools, the learning day.

Kia tau, ki a tātau katoa
Te atawhai o to tātau ariki a Ihu Karaiti
Me te aroha o te Atua
Me te whiwhinga-tahitanga ki te Wairua Tapu
Ake ake ake

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
And the love of God
And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us
Now and forever

Audio Soundbite

Karakia kai

Nau mai e ngā hua

Nau mai e ngā hua
O te wao, o te ngākina, o te wai tai, o te wai māori
Nā Tāne, nā Rongo, nā Tangaroa, nā Maru
Ko Ranginui e tū iho nei
Ko Papatūānuku e takoto ake nei
Tūturu whakamaua kia tina, tina!
Hui e! Tāiki e!

Welcome the gifts of food from the sacred forests, from the cultivated gardens, from the sea, from
the fresh waters
From Tāne, from Rongo, from Tangaroa, from Maru
I acknowledge Ranginui who is above me and Papatūānuku who lies beneath me
Let this be my commitment to all!
Draw together! Affirm!

Audio Soundbite

Whakapaingia ēnei kai

Whakapaingia ēnei kai
Hei oranga mo o mātau tinana
Mo o mātau wairua hoki

Bless this food
For the health of our bodies
And our spirits

Audio Soundbite

Education Resources

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council values the contribution schools make to sustainability. Education for Sustainability guidelines from the Ministry for the Environment state environmental learning should be in the environment, about the environment and for the environment.

We offer the following resources:

Clearing the Air – This kit has information about air quality in Hawke’s Bay, why winter air pollution happens, and most importantly, what we can all do at home to help. This on line resource includes individual and class activities, and science experiments.   

The New Zealand Curriculum material in this resource is designed for students in Years 4 to 8. The Resource can be found here.

A useful powerpoint presentation entitled ‘Air Quality in the Bay – the particulate story’ which we presented at the intermediate School Science Camp can be found here.

Four A3 posters are available to be printed off if required:

To request a hard copy contact

Pekapeka Wetland

This resource offers a wide variety of teaching and learning activities as well as detailed information about the diversity of flora and fauna that can be found in and around the wetland. Pekapeka Wetland has been undergoing restoration since 1995. The current visitor interpretation area was opened in 2010.

Currently only available in hard copy with a dvd. To request a copy contact:

Drain Detective2Plans for an online version of this resource are currently underway.

Drain Detectives

You can be a Stormwater Detective at your home or school. Do you know where your stormwater comes from and where it goes to?

A short powerpoint presentation is delivered as part of this resource. You can find the activity sheets below.

Stormwater Walk Activity Sheet
Checklist Activity Sheet
Pipe Maze Activity Sheet Easy
Pipe Maze Activity Sheet Advanced
Word Search

For more information contact or call Sally Chandler on 06 833 8036

SHMAK - stream health monitoring and assessment kit

The Regional Council has four kits available to loan to schools and community groups. This resource produced by NIWA, allows simple measurements to be taken and recorded in our many streams and rivers.  For more information visit NIWA and to book a kit for your class email

Kids 4 Drama

Each year Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, in conjunction with our regions local councils, brings this troupe of talented actors to perform. Their captivating waste aware shows have relevant and important environmental messages. Designed for a primary age audience the snappy format is very popular. Different schools are offered a performance each year. In term 2 2017 there were 28 performances around our region. 

Information sheets on Environmental Topics

These fact sheets cover a wide range of topics including – water, land, riparian, air and pests. You can find them on our documents and forms page by filtering info sheets..


step out3

Step Out Enewsletter

Subscribe to our Step Out enewsletter to keep up with the latest information and news on environmental education.  This goes out monthly for 10 months of the year (excl. Dec & Jan).

Latest Issue - SEPTEMBER 2018



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