Lynmore wins national trophy

School shares its biosecurity work and passion

Shauni James





It was a special and proud day for Lynmore Primary School as it shared its biosecurity work and passion with MPI’S chief biosecurity officer firsthand. Last Friday the school hosted Stuart Hutchings, Ministry for Primary Industries chief biosecurity officer, to celebrate the school being awarded the National Biosecurity Kura Award for 2022. Lynmore School principal Hinei Taute says the visitors were welcomed on to Mokoia Island by Taiao kaimahi, community volunteers, kura kids and teachers, kaumātua and kuia of Te Roro o te Rangi, Uenukukopako and a representative from the Department of Internal Affairs. They spent the next three hours working together to check, clear and re-bait traplines on the island, and shared some history of the Taiao mahi. “We returned to Lynmore School for an assembly presentation of the certificate and trophy to our Year 6 Taiao Kaitiaki leaders Rossi Edwards and Matthew Wallace. “Our tamariki on the island were very proud to be able to share their learning journey with Stu. “We also invited past students and teacher Amy Garrood of Lynmore School who were in the inaugural group on our Taiao journey. “This award acknowledged an accumulation of work over six years.” She says unfortunately the national award ceremony in Wellington was cancelled due to Covid. “We had planned for a couple of teachers, two students and their parents to represent us on the national stage. “When we found out we had won it, I really wanted to make it a memorable experience for our tamariki so they can see how important it is to be kaitiaki of our environment. “Taiao is an important part of our localised curriculum. I am thankful that MPI were able to organise for Stu to come and present this prestigious award in person.” Hinei thinks biosecurity is the key to a sustainable future for our world. “We need to give our tamariki the experience in the why? — why would we do this, how? — how do we do this? and what? — what are the outcomes? The more tamariki we can encourage to be passionate about biosecurity then the better our world will be.” She wants to acknowledge the school’s community, hapū, iwi, Tatau Pounamu, Red Stag and Te Arawa Lakes Trust for supporting it with the many Taiao projects that its tamariki are engaged in. “It really takes a village to raise a child and these people are part of our village.” Stuart Hutchings says Lynmore School put together a special day for his visit. “It was a real honour for me to be welcomed onto Mokoia Island, it’s a really special place, and to be able to present the school with this award.” Stuart says the NZ Biosecurity School Award is the top prize of its kind in Aotearoa, and every year they get incredible entrants. “The students had a deep understanding of the work they were doing, it was really inspiring to see this biosecurity project in action. “They were very passionate and proud about the success they were having in stopping pests and protecting our native species.” He says it was also great to see previous students and staff still involved in the programme. There are now 10 schools actively involved in the Mokoia Island pest control programme, so the enthusiasm has spread by word of mouth across many local communities. Stuart says biosecurity is all about protecting our unique environment. “Biosecurity isn’t something we can do alone, and Lynmore Primary School has developed amazing connections with biosecurity groups and within the community to do this work.” He says for Rotorua, an important part of that work is stopping pests like mice, rats, possums and catfish from taking over the lakes and forests. “Their Lynmore Hunga Tiaki programme has been running for six years, reducing rodent numbers to protect native species, as well as trapping pest catfish in local lakes in collaboration with Te Arawa Lakes Trust. So far, hundreds of students have learnt how to care for their environment and the importance of biosecurity. This gives me great hope — they are our future kaitiakitanga, our guardians. The more they know about their environment and know how to care for it, the better it will be for their children, and future generations.” ■ The annual New Zealand Biosecurity Awards recognise outstanding contributions to protecting our country.