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Teaching Kids About Rubbish For 11 Years

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Teaching Kids About Rubbish For 11 Years

Thousands of school age children have learnt about living sustainably through drama in schools. An eleven year relationship between local schools, Keep Gisborne Beautiful and Gisborne District Council, has seen students writing, directing and acting in productions with an environmental theme.

Anne Lister, Council's environmental health educator initially worked with the Invisible Theatre Company, then Gisborne Girls High School.

For the last eight years she has worked with Ilminster Intermediate's 'Green Team'. The theatre performances are toured around the districts schools. This year's play 'Want it, Have it' was performed at the end of May for 17 schools in the region.

It is about shopping wisely; asking do I really need this and what will happen to it when I don't need it anymore. The play was written and directed by Ilminster's drama teacher, Sharon Start-Walter with the help of her students who make up the "Green Team". They researched the affects our disposable society is having on the environment to add their special touch to the project says Mrs Lister.

"Theatre has been an effective way to raise awareness and encourage behaviour change from an early age. Having students perform to their peers gives the performance a special quality. They deliver humour and a message that connects with other students."

"We try to integrate a programme of activities so that the children get the message in more than one way. A few weeks after they have seen the play we take year 4 and year 6 classes from schools throughout Gisborne to visit the Rethink Centre, located next to AllBrites.

"The students discuss where 'stuff' comes from and what happens to it when it becomes litter. Will it go to landfill or can it be recycled. They also get the opportunity to practise reducing, reusing and recycling when shopping in the Rethink centre own mini supermarket. All activities at the Rethink Centre are designed to get children discovering the solutions to issues relating to the environment."

Rory McCourt, chairman of Tairāwhiti Youth Voice was an early 'Green Team' member. He is trying to getting previous 'Green Team' members together to create a skit that can be performed at next months (17-19 September's) National Keep New Zealand Beautiful Conference in Gisborne.


Keep Gisborne Beautiful run a colouring competition in conjunction with the other activities. This year the picture to be coloured was drawn by Jonathan Layton from Ilminster Intermediate. Willy the Worm, Keep Gisborne Beautiful's mascot, handed out a colouring competition and welcomed children off the buses as they arrived at Ilminster to see the play.

The winners were announced recently with one child from each of the ten schools winning a book token. The tokens were presented by Graham Morris, president of Keep Gisborne Beautiful, at their school assemblies.

Winners of are:

Paul Ritahia, Waikirikiri School

Akelah Herniman, Kaiti School

Waihinemoa Ehu-Kilburn, Cobham School

Conner Siemonek, Te Wharau School

Maggie Preston, Te Hapara School

Luke Caswell, St Mary's School

Salem Evans, Awapuni School

Penny Lynch, Central School

Keilah Dalbeth, Mangapapa School

Ruby Trafford, Wainui Beach School

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