Kids make the news

Issue: Volume 98, Number 16

Posted: 12 September 2019
Reference #: 1H9yb1

Hundreds of primary school students with a knack for news are being given the opportunity to become reporters and create stories that will be engaging to students nationwide.

A news and current affairs show called Kea Kids News is being launched on news website Stuff. Funded by NZ On Air, it presents student-led stories and perspectives on events and issues in the headlines, such as the science behind the rockets sent up by Rocket Lab, what happens to the semi-automatic guns being handed in by gun owners, and the causes of the current measles epidemic.

The twice-weekly video bulletins will be a new learning resource for teachers to help achieve curriculum and learning goals.

The first seven-minute episode went up on link) on 4 September. All episodes also broadcast on the children’s TV channel HEIHEI. There will be two editions a week – at midday on Wednesdays and 9am on Saturdays – for the next 48 weeks, with two stories in each. 

Curriculum links

The students’ work links to the English learning area of The New Zealand Curriculum and the five key competencies as they examine issues and stories, carry out research, manage their self to produce the stories, relate to others in developing the project, and use language, symbols and text to communicate the stories. 

Involvement in the show will also link to a variety of the other learning areas in the curriculum. For example, students will expand their visual arts exposure by contributing to the look of the show, as they will help design graphics, such as drawing the bad-guy bugs in a story about the causes of tooth decay. 

Each story will have a different reporter (sometimes two) and the producers are eager to hear from students and schools across the country who have news tips and story ideas or would like to take part.

The series is a first for children contributing to a news and current affairs show and the young reporters will sometimes be learning by doing; for example, by testing out a new electric-powered jet surfboard. In other stories, they will look at the cost of fast fashion, bullying in skateparks and the history of Ihumātao.

The show’s producer, Luke Nolan, says,
“Our aim is for immediacy and to take stories straight out of the headlines, as well as fun stuff. We want to cover stories featuring student reporters from right across the country.”

Fresh perspectives

“We have worked with an initial group and been amazed at the perspectives they bring,” says Stuff deputy editor Janine Fenwick. 

“They definitely do not think about issues like adults do.”

In looking at the gun buy-back process, an eight-year-old student came up with the idea of seeing what happens to the guns afterwards, which sparked the angle that the story took.

Janine says the students will be learning the important elements of journalism such as the need for balance, accuracy and news judgement. 

“We hope that KEA will help teach children and whānau the difference between real news and fake. We will not shy away from hard and difficult topics just because the reporters are young.”

She added that current events are often scary and difficult, and parents and teachers may find it hard to talk about them with children. 

“We’re hopeful that KEA will be a safe and trustworthy place to help facilitate these conversations.”

Kea’s curiosity an inspiration

The series has been named after the kea, a curious and cheeky New Zealand bird. The ‘pecking’ of keas is seen as a parallel to what the students will be doing. 

“They will be pecking through the news stories of the day to find what is of most interest and engaging,” explains Janine. 

Any school that has a news tip for the team, or who would like to nominate students to participate as reporters, is welcome to email Janine at

Curriculum links

Students working on Kea Kids News will be linking to a number of areas in The New Zealand Curriculum. In the English learning area, the student’s work will include:

  • making meaning of ideas or information they receive (listening, reading, and viewing)
  • creating meaning for themselves or others (speaking, writing, and presenting).

See: The New-Zealand Curriculum – English Learning area structure(external link).


For the arts learning area, see: The New Zealand Curriculum – The arts Learning area structure(external link).


Links to the science learning area of the curriculum will strengthen students’ understanding of the strands of science. See: The New Zealand Curriculum – Science Learning area structure(external link)


Learning the elements of journalism such as the need for balance, accuracy and judgement, links to the Thinking key competency.

Thinking is about using creative, critical, and metacognitive processes to make sense of information, experiences, and ideas. These processes can be applied to purposes such as developing understanding, making decisions, shaping actions, or constructing knowledge. Intellectual curiosity is at the heart of this competency.

Students who are competent thinkers and problem solvers actively seek, use, and create knowledge. They reflect on their own learning, draw on personal knowledge and intuitions, ask questions, and challenge the basis of assumptions and perceptions.

For more information see: The New Zealand Curriculum(external link).

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:30 am, 12 September 2019

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