Board game teaches students about their own backyards

Issue: Volume 95, Number 2

Posted: 9 February 2016
Reference #: 1H9cyx

The rich history of the Bay of Plenty is coming alive for a new generation of Kiwis through a board game.

Books have been put aside in 60 Tauranga schools in favour of the hands-on ‘Koha: The Culturally Cool Card Game of Tauranga Moana’.

The brainchild of Tommy Kapai Wilson (Ngati Ranginui/Pirirākau), Koha is designed to strengthen players’ knowledge of significant local sites, historic locations and the meanings of Māori place names.

“I think it’s important for all Kiwis to know what is in their own backyard,” says Tommy, who has authored more than 30 children’s stories.

“People always want to know ‘why’s that place significant?’ and they’re places we often drive past and don’t know what the name means."

“Koha breaks down barriers about what is so important in our own backyards.”

Tommy says Koha is an interactive and hands-on teaching tool that has been needed for a long time.

“The resource and the knowledge has never been there,” he says. “There’s a definite thirst to engage by Māori teachers and others with students on these things.”

Kaimai Primary School principal, Dane Robertson, says his school has received five copies of the game and the students are enjoying playing it.

“The children like it and have really gotten into it,” he says. “We started off with the senior students playing it and they then went and taught the younger ones.”

“It has been great to hear the children and even staff members making an effort to pronounce Māori words and break down te reo as they look for clues as to what things mean.”

Dane says children learn best through play and Koha has been good for them to learn things about their local areas that they would not have known otherwise.

The Ministry of Education supported Tommy and three Bay of Plenty iwi – Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Pūkenga – on the project.

“It’s great the Ministry worked with three iwi on this. It is a really amazing resource,” Tommy says. “We can be very grateful for what we’ve created.”

Two hundred copies of Koha: The Culturally Cool Card Game of Tauranga Moana have been distributed to 60 schools in the Bay of Plenty.

Tommy says one day he would like to develop an Aotearoa-wide game to include rivers of significance, marae and much more.

“It would be a wonderful resource of what is in Aotearoa.”

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 8:00 pm, 9 February 2016

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