Within every rock waits a story to be told.
That’s the idea behind Te Kura Whenua, a marae-based, hands-on workshop on geology.
Communities face increasingly complex issues around resource management, natural hazards and climate change. As the complexities increase, so does the need for a greater understanding of the natural systems underlying them. To facilitate that, GNS Science runs marae-based geology wananga to provide some answers, while at the same time learning about local issues and perspectives.
Geologist Chris Hollis says the programme is a partnership between GNS Science and Ngati Kahungunu and focuses on issues of interest to the iwi.
“We’ve been covering a range of topics from petroleum exploration to climate change, to geological hazards to environmental protection. The whole concept was a response to Ngati Kahungunu wanting to find out more about the geology of their rohe (territory).”
The most recent wananga was hosted by Kohunui marae in the Wairarapa.
In a melding of science outreach and experiential learning, Chris Hollis says the approach is “hands-on, minds-on learning”.
The three-day workshop at Kohunui marae began with storytelling, exploring what rocks from different locations reveal about the geological history and changes in the environment over time.
Participants then went on fieldtrips to Lake Onoke, the Tora coast, Kupe’s Sail and the Putangirua Pinnacles to learn about geological methods, including the extraction of sediment cores and the production of seismic profile maps as tools to glean information about environmental changes and natural hazards in the past.