This Connected article takes a Pacific worldview and describes how the people of the Cook Islands have attempted to manage and protect their marine resources with the re-introduction of the tradition of ra‘ui.
The ra’ui system is the traditional method of conservation and preservation of resources, it is similar to the mātauranga Māori concept of rāhui.
The tradition of ra’ui has not been successfully implemented in all of Rarotonga’s lagoons, but where it has, marine life has returned. Use this article to explore the issues that boost or challenge success, and the diversity and validity of different people’s perspectives on ra‘ui. Investigate the impacts humans have had on marine environments, the concept of interrelatedness of ecosystems, the importance of sustainable management practices, and the need for communication with the community.
Check your school library for the article from the 2020 level 3 Connected journal ‘Kaitiakitanga’, download it as a Google slide presentation or order it from the Ministry of Education.
Teacher support material
The teacher support material (TSM) can be downloaded from TKI (Word and PDF files available, click on 'Look inside this issue').
It has two learning activities that support the exploring science aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum:
- Protecting our place – students investigate local sanctuaries and rāhui. The activity also incorporates the citizen science Litter Intelligence project.
- Let it be – covers food chains and ecosystems, including using the Marine food webs article. The extension idea uses the Rena disaster as an example of how indigenous knowledge and science worked together to restore the mauri of the local area.
Literacy strategies also support students to get the most out of the text and include important skills useful when approaching scientific vocabulary.
In addition to the resources linked in the article above, use these resources below:
- Human impacts on marine environments
- Marine food webs
- Rāhui Pōkeka – video
- Restoring mauri after the Rena disaster
Check out our entire range of Connected articles here. We’ve curated them by topic and concepts.
Building Science Concepts Book 22: Tidal Communities: Interdependence and the Effects of Change – studying a rocky shore ecosystem provides opportunities to explore the concepts of variety, interdependence, changes in an environment and the relationships between living and non-living elements.
Build a marine food web – uses images of organisms from the marine ecosystem and can be done indoors on paper or outdoors on a tarmac surface using chalk.
- The fish highway, 2013, Level 3, Food for Thought
- After the spill, 2013, Level 4, Are You Sure?
- Rising seas, 2014, Level 3, Why Is That?
- Counting kākahi, 2014, Level 3, Why Is That?
- Learning from the Tangata Whenua, 2015, Level 2, Have You Checked?
- What now for the Rena?, 2016, Level 4, Getting the Message
- Listening to the land, 2018, Level 3, Cracking the Code
- Under the sea, 2018, Level 4, Digital Space
Rāhui, Junior Journal 58, Level 2, 2019 – will a rāhui ensure there will be enough berries to share on Huia’s mothers birthday.
The Constructing food chains activity from Science Online on TKI allows students to develop models of feeding relationships in communities. It utilises the Building Science Concepts book above.
Find out more Ra‘ui (Marine Protected Areas) on the Ministry of Marine Resources Cook Islands website.
Evidence supports the teaching of Indigenous knowledge alongside sciences in the classroom, read more in Amanda Black, Jason M. Tylianakis, Teach Indigenous knowledge alongside science. Science 383, 592–594 (2024). DOI:10.1126/science.adi9606
The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the Back of the Chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details, contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email email@example.com.
The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.