School programme

WAI - the water project

6 June 2020 - 8 November 2020

Years 1-13. 90 min

Free for Porirua schools or $2 per child per programme

Explore issues of water conservation and kaitiakitanga of a precious resource and taonga

About the programme

WAI – the water project is a collaborative exhibition of thirteen artists who were invited two years ago to ‘be the water’ and create artworks exploring the cultural, conceptual and imaginative qualities of water in Canterbury. The artists looked at changes in the landscape as a result of the way people have used water from the rivers, lakes and wet-lands. Participating artists included: Peter Trevelyan, Jenna Packer, Brett Graham, Phil Dadson, Jacqui Colley, Ross Hemera, Bing Dawe, Dani Terrizzi, Euan Macleod, Elizabeth Thomson, Greg O’Brien, Bruce Foster and Kate Woods. 

Students will explore how artists have communicated ideas in their artworks which challenge and confront us with issues such as the degradation of the supply and quality of clean fresh water and the effects of deforestation and intensification of agriculture etc. Students will get the opportunity to discuss how the Porirua landscape has changed over time and how our actions have affected our local environment.

Our programmes will emphasize the need for students to locate, learn about and love back to health their ’local’ awa/stream. We know our local schools are fostering young kaitiaki and looking after the streams and harbour of Porirua. Kaitiakitanga/guardianship, conservation and ‘connection’ will be explored in both our gallery and workroom areas. We hope that local visiting schools have a prior knowledge about their local awa/stream.

Curriculum Links

The Arts, Visual Arts: Students will share ideas about how and why artworks are made and their purpose, value and context UA. Students will explore and describe ways in which meanings can be communicated and interpreted in artworks CI.

Social Sciences: Students will understand how people make choices to meet their needs and wants L2. Students will understand how people view and use places differently L3. Students will understand how people make decisions about access and use of resources L3.

Science: Planet Earth and Beyond – Interacting systems L1-4. Students will describe how natural resources like water are changed and affected by natural events and human actions. Students will investigate the water cycle and its effect on climate, landforms and life.


Pre & post visit ideas

Google and learn more about the artists and their year-long project.

Find out what a catchment is and where your catchment area is located on a map

Find out about and locate your school’s nearest stream. Are there any stories or legends about your local stream?

Discover where your local stream comes from and where it starts

Experience your local stream by visiting it and looking closely to see what is living in and around the water

Collect a sample of the water from your local stream in a lidded container/bottle (about 300mls). How clear does it look?

Look up what stormwater and wastewater networks are

Discuss the importance of fresh water and the different ways people use it and can get it

Investigate the water cycle from a science perspective and mātauranga Māori

Contact your local Council or Wellington Water and find out where water is stored in your area. Are there people able to come and talk to your class from these organisations?

Locate where Canterbury is and some facts about the braided rivers there

Talk about how we can work together to become water heroes

Related Teacher resource

Contact us

Email or phone (04) 237 3551 if you'd like us to tailor a programme to meet your learning goals.