- Kristy Northcroft visiting the Mine Bay Māori rock carvings during last week’s Lake Taupō cruise.
One of our Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching) graduates Kristy Northcroft has been closely involved in the development of a Lake Taupō cultural knowledge and educational cruise that tells the story of her Ngāti Tūwharetoa iwi to students.
The “floating classroom” was offered for professional development purposes to 60 principals and other school leaders this month, and was joined by kaimahi from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.
The original idea for the floating classroom came from Kate Jolly of Chris Jolly Outdoors which operates charter boats at Taupō. Kristy had taken up a seasonal boat host position there.
“Katie and I had an instant connection and a passion to get our tamariki and rangatahi on the lake. Together we have spent the last year putting a programme together combining both our skills and strengths to create a Wānanga Wai Whakarewa - Floating Classroom.”
The 1.5-hour floating classroom – which can cater for up to 70 people at a time - covers a wide range of matters including the Treaty of Waitangi and Tūwharetoa local ancestral history. Schools pay a fee for the cruises.
“Ultimately the learning can be targeted to the school’s needs and aspirations of their own learners. My challenge is to bring our two worlds together - te ao Māori and te ao Pākehā - with Tūwharetoatanga at the forefront,” says Kristy, who describes her role as that of kaitiaki and kaiako.
“In my experience of being on the lake, the rich had the privilege of amazing experiences and our tamariki missed out. My goal is to change that.
“My passion is to encourage our youth to be kaitiaki and through education and connection they will have a better understanding of the importance of protecting our taonga.”
Next year it’s also planned to start supporting leaders to implement Tūwharetoa cultural knowledge in classrooms authentically.
“The floating classroom will help to support the learning in a unique way,” says Kristy.