Helping student to become protectors of the environment

Caritas has developed an 80 page guide for teachers in ways to nurture kaitiakitanga (stewardship) of the Warawara Forest in Northland.

The Warawara Forest resource aims to teach students to be protectors of the environment

resource aims to teach students to be protectors of the environment.

It is called Te Warawara: Te Wairua o te iwi o te Rarawa.

The guide was written at the request of Te Kura Taumata ō Panguru, a small local area school in north Hokianga.

This forest has one of the largest kauri stands in Aotearoa new Zealand, and is home to many threatened native species, including North Island kiwi and kaka, bats and karearea (New Zealand falcon).

Dame Whina Cooper described the Warawara as the living spiritual being of the hapu of Te Rarawa which is the local sub-tribe.

The guide includes activities, worksheets and lesson plans and is aimed at primary and secondary school students.

It features worksheets tailored to specific year groupings, meaning the book is both instructional and inspirational.

The Warawara Forest is of utmost cultural and historical significance to Te Rarawa.

They still own the land’s resources and it is hoped that through deeper learning about their tāonga/treasures, the next generation will not only see how important it is for them to serve as guardians and protectors of the Warawara Forest, but also how their efforts will support the community in ways that will lead to future employment opportunities.

“This is another strand of the life story of the Warawara that reaches back for centuries, it is a life line for the forest,” the resource’s author and Caritas Social Justice Education Coordinator, Catherine Gibbs says.

Caritas has a strong commitment to indigenous peoples and environmental justice. Work on the resource has been through our Tāngata Whenua workstream. Principles of Catholic social teaching including stewardship (kaitiakitanga), the common good and participation, are woven into the resource.

For more information, please contact Crispin Anderlini (Communications, Marketing & Fundraising Advisor) on 021 190 9908 or email to

Press release from Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand.

News category: New Zealand, News Shorts.

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