In 2023 Auckland Council’s Sustainable Schools Team (SST) will run a programme called Mana Ora: Students Decarbonising schools. The programme involves working with around fifteen Auckland schools and kura to support student-led climate and sustainability action projects. The aim of the programme is that students (with guidance and support from teachers and SST) will identify, plan, and apply for funding for, action projects to be implemented within their schools and communities during the 2023 school year.
Mana Ora is supported by Auckland Council, Westpac NZ Government Innovation Fund, and Ministry for the Environment. A pool of funding for students’ action projects is included in the programme.
The name of the programme is explained below:
“Mana Ora speaks to the mana (prestige/power) we have as ira tangata (people) to do right by our taiao/tupuna (environment/ancestor) by enhancing the mauri (life force) and ora (health) of our taiao (environment)".
Ka ora te taiao, ka ora te tangata (a healthy land is a healthy people)
NZCER will provide an evaluation for Auckland Council focussing on how the programme is implemented in English-medium settings, and the extent to which the programme meets its intended outcomes for students, teachers, schools, and the facilitators and partners that support schools. A separate workstream will explore the programme impacts and outcomes in Māori-medium settings.
Intended outcomes for students
It is hoped that students who participate:
- experience authentic involvement in planning and framing their projects
- feel a sense of community and that they have participated in collective efforts towards a positive action
- increase their understanding of climate change, know that there are ways to take action on climate change, and see that they can play a role in this action
- can, in their own words, talk about their relationships and responsibilities in relation to the environment (aligned with the intentions of Mana Ora).
Intended outcomes for teachers
It is hoped that teachers who participate will:
- feel confident, enabled and empowered to teach about, and inspire, climate action learning
- feel that they are part of a collective of teachers in Auckland who are working on this together.
We expect the evaluation report to be available in late 2023.
The Mana Ora programme and evaluation builds on what was learned in a 2021 Schools' Carbon Footprint Pilot project with Auckland Council.