From left are Victory Primary School students Leo Biggs, Bathsheba Hlawnceu, Erin Edgar, Salom Lalfakzuali, Rebecca Kainey, Lisa Khup Chawn and Lung Ning Ching, who have all helped to create a poem book about Te Wairepo awa. Photo: Kate Russell.

Students looking after Te Wairepo


Students at Victory Primary School are passionate about cleaning up the stream that flows through their school.

So, they decided to write a book about it – as well as a letter to Nelson’s mayor and city councillors.

Te Wairepo awa (York stream) is a major tributary of the Maitai River and the school’s Mahi Tahi class has been learning about freshwater and stormwater through the ‘Drains to Harbour’ programme.

This is run by Tasman Bay Guardians and funded by council.

However, teacher Victoria Richardson and her class felt that more could be done to raise awareness of the stream to keep it and its inhabitants healthy, so they have worked together to publish ‘Our Te Wairepo Number Poem’.

“The children were really motivated to start spreading messages to their wider whanau and community,” she says.

The book has been illustrated by a group of junior students and will soon be available to borrow from the public library.

Victoria says they have also been learning about the history of the school land and the stream.

“We discovered there was a lot of rubbish in the stream which made us all feel quite sad.”

Student Lung Ning Ching said she would “like to see no rubbish” in the stream.

“There were a lot of chip and noodle packets.”

The students have also been “challenged” to not bring any plastic in their lunchboxes.

As another action, several students also helped to type up a letter to send to council, asking if more could be done to protect the stream.

Students said they were concerned about fish spawning habitat and worried that the concrete in the stream could reduce their ability to breed, and they also asked if the banks of the stream could be enhanced.