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Earthquake science kits coming to the East Coast thanks to NEMA Resilience Fund

Screenshot 2022 05 19 111600

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has awarded $28,000 of their Resilience Fund to East Coast LAB for their collaboration with House of Science, to create earthquake science kits for primary and intermediate schools and kura.

This East Coast LAB-House of Science collaboration is one of nine initiatives to have been awarded funding for 2022-2023.

“NEMA’s CDEM Resilience Fund aims to build local and regional resilience to emergencies,” Gary Knowles, Director of Civil Defence at the National Emergency Management Agency says. “This project will help ākonga and kura understand and prepare for the natural hazards in their region, which in turn will build resilience in their whanau and communities.”

This funding will allow East Coast LAB to support House of Science in developing an earthquake science resource kit, full of hands-on experiments, aligned with the Aotearoa curriculum, and fully bilingual with every element translated into Te Reo Māori and English.

“House of Science resources empower New Zealand teachers to deliver great science lessons. This is so important as science learning builds key competencies like critical thinking, questioning and problem solving. Raising scientific literacy is crucial for our society because scientifically literate people participate as knowledgeable citizens and make informed decisions that will affect the quality of their lives and that of their children.” said House of Science CEO Chris Duggan

The work of House of Science continues to be essential, as in 2021 the Education Review Office found that just 20% of year eight ākonga in Aotearoa were achieving at the expected level for the science curriculum.

Beyond the initial development, this funding will also see these kits distributed across the East Coast of Te Ika-a-Māui, from Tairāwhiti to Wellington, as well as Bay of Plenty.

These East Coast communities are on the front lines of the Hikurangi Subduction Zone, Aotearoa’s largest and most active fault.

A long or strong earthquake from the Hikurangi Subduction Zone could trigger a tsunami that would reach the East Coast shore in as little as 15 minutes. This initiative is one of many led by East Coast LAB and Civil Defence and Emergency Management groups across the coast, that aims to build these communities’ resilience to this hazard.

This Resilience Fund application was endorsed by five Civil Defence Emergency Management groups, representing Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui, and Wellington.

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group’s Clinton Naude says the funding is good news for schools and communities. “Educating and informing our tamariki – not just on the risks and hazards we all face, but how to keep themselves and their whānau safe- is a key element of community readiness and an important part of public safety.”

Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group Manager Ian Macdonald said it made sense for Civil Defence groups to come together and endorse this project as helping kids understand and plan for emergencies improves the preparedness of the whole community.

“Resilient tamariki are a basic building block of a resilient community,” Ian Macdonald said. “When our tamariki are involved in preparing for emergencies and learning about the hazards in our region, they encourage their whole whānau to be more prepared and play a more active role in responding to and recovering from emergencies.”

10 February 2023

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