Kids bring Ngāi Tahu stories to life

7:56 pm on 6 July 2016

In the first initiative of its kind, Code Club Aotearoa has teamed up with Ngāi Tahu to teach primary school children to code while incorporating Māori language and cultural beliefs.

Melanie Riwai-Couch, the principal of total immersion school Te Whānau Tahi in Christchurch, said the initiative was a great opportunity for students to become creators of their own content.

Code Club Aotearoa

Code Club Aotearoa Photo: supplied

The students were now able to do their own video and digital animations like they saw on television and computer games. It was a great way for students to bring together traditional Māori stories with the modern world, Ms Riwai-Couch said.

"In the pilot that's been running at our kura, the sprites and animations that are being used have been developed in partnership with Ngāi Tahu and with some local Ngāi Tahu developers, so it enables the children to create animation about local Ngāi Tahu stories."

These are young, talented and gifted children, she said.

"Our students are bilingual but they are taught in total immersion reo Māori, a lot of the teaching for code club is taught in English, but the concepts, materials and resources that they use come from a cultural reference point."

The students were working collaboratively, but were also able to go home and share their work with their whanau, as it was housed online.

"The beautiful thing about code club is the way that it's facilitated, it aligns with our philosophies around whanaungatanga and tuakana, teina. So you have younger and older students learning side by side."

After the very first day the programme started, a mum emailed Ms Riwai-Couch to say her 10-year-old son had gone home and taught her how to code and create her own 15 second animation.

Code Club Aotearoa co-founder Michael Trengrove said the goal was to expand the programme to seven other schools are associated with Ngāi Tahu.

Currently the coding club has 226 clubs around the country.