Kuratau Primary School discovers Dunedin

Thanks to the Airpoints™ for Schools programme, the entire school flew to Dunedin to explore and learn about native animals.

Kuratau Primary School from Turangi had the opportunity to fly on an airplane for the very first time thanks to Airpoints Dollars™ donations from Airpoints members and Air New Zealand. Flying and seeing the view from the air was a big novelty for the rural students, and they felt privileged to hand out the Air New Zealand lollies to all the passengers on board. The young Kiwis couldn't wait to explore New Zealand's beautiful South Island for the first time and were keen to learn about native animals along the way.

Their journey started with a tour around Dunedin on an awesome red double decker bus and a hike up the world's steepest street. Then the Turangi pupils visited the New Zealand Marine Centre in Dunedin and learnt all about native sea creatures including grazers, predicators, sea slugs, crabs, starfish, jellyfish and more. They also had a unique learning experience dissecting baby sharks. Students compared their five senses with those of humans and could identify the sharks' diets by looking inside their stomachs.

The school stayed at the Orokonui Eco Sanctuary where they saw beautiful native birds such as the Otago Skink, Tuatara, Kaka, Tui and many others. There they learnt about the types of pests introduced into New Zealand, the different traps used to keep the birds safe and why it is important to look after native animals. Students studied the difference in animal activity and noise in the bush by experiencing both a day bush walk and a night bush walk.

Their animal education continued at the Otago Museum where they visited the tropical butterfly enclosure and had elegant and colourful butterflies land on their shoulders. At the museum, the pupils also completed a lesson on physics, experimenting with a variety of fun activities to figure out which motion applied. There was an enormous indoor slide to learn about friction, a steam machine and air machine to learn about air resistance, and more hands-on experiments to explain applied force and gravity. Lastly, a walk around the famous Otago University gave students an idea of what they have to look forward to. The group has returned from their journey with expanded knowledge and inspiration to learn more.

"A once in a lifetime opportunity. Lifetime memories. Our home, New Zealand, is a beautiful taonga." - Students of Room 2 from Kuratau School.