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  • In Aotearoa New Zealand, water is our most precious resource, yet it is often taken for granted and perceived to be unlimited.

    Smart Water is a partnership between Hamilton City Council, Waipā District Council and Waitomo District Council. It aims to foster a greater understanding and appreciation of water from source to tap. Smart Water supports schools, organisations and the community to use water sustainably.

    The resources use an inquiry approach to connect with water in the Waikato region. However, the science and mātauranga concepts that underpin Smart Water are transferable to other locations across the motu.

    The interactive below guides you through the Smart Water inquiry cycle and has links to resources.

    Curriculum links

    Smart Water resources are designed for use with years 5–8 – levels 3–4 of the New Zealand Curriculum. They can be adapted for use at other levels and provide opportunities for integrating curriculum subjects such as science, technology, English, social sciences, health and maths.

    The resources are underpinned by the key aims and dimensions of environmental education – education in, about and for the environment and kaitiakitanga through participation and action.

    Key concepts

    The suite of resources explore:

    • why clean fresh water is important
    • water conservation and reasons to save water
    • water treatment processes
    • te mana o te wai and mauri
    • climate change and impacts on freshwater such as the Waikato River
    • how we can all look after our water.

    Structure of resources

    The resources are organised in an inquiry format, with materials to develop each stage of the inquiry. The suite of activities include learning experiences, videos, slideshows and interactives to encourage deep understanding and engaging experiences. The activities work together to build a solid understanding of water as a natural resource and culminate with students planning a meaningful task to address a local water issue of interest to them. However, each activity also functions as a stand-alone resource so teachers can create a bespoke programme to meet student needs.

    Resources to support learning

    Smart Water resources in downloadable PDF format:

    Related content

    Taking action for conservation is a PLD webinar about taking action for conservation.

    Rivers and Us – a context for learning has pedagogical information, and links to numerous resources that explore water use and water quality.

    Tōku awa koiora – introduction curates resources about the Waikato River ecosystems and the iwi, researchers and scientists who are working to restore and protect the health and wellbeing of the Waikato River.

    Lakes380 – a context for learning curates resources that explore lake health past and present and draw upon both scientific and mātauranga Māori knowledge systems.

    Useful links

    Visit Smart Water for water level alerts, water saving tips and more.

    See the articles in the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 2018 Special Issue: Mātauranga Māori shaping marine and freshwater futures.


    This resource has been produced with the support of Smart Water.

      Published 11 May 2022 Referencing Hub articles
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