Hidden streams field trip

Waimapihi Stream artwork made from historic brick culvert next to information panel with text and historic photographs
Waimapihi Stream artwork (Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage)

Field trips are a fantastic way for students and teachers to develop shared experiences outside of the classroom. This field trip – ‘Hidden streams’ – is hosted by educator-historian Ricky Prebble and has been run successfully with Year 9 Social Studies students in the past.

Trip details

Contact

Ricky Prebble
Educator–Historian
Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage
021 024 31150
[email protected]

Estimated time

60 minutes

Starting point

Pukeahu Education Centre

Trip sites

Wellington city map with field trip stops marked by red dots and streams by blue lines.

Purpose

This field trip is about the changes that have happened to the landscape in Wellington. It focuses on Wellington city streams – 95.5% are piped underground and made to run in concrete culverts, finding their outlets at the ocean not by nature, but by control. Students will learn about the importance of water and how art can help to tell stories about the past.

Wellington is full of life-giving streams, each with a name and each with a story. Naming places preserves culture and heritage and builds an understanding of ‘where’. Tangata whenua named all the natural features within their physical environment before Europeans arrived. With colonisation, the landscape was systematically renamed – places like Wakefield Park, Adelaide Road, Lambton Quay, Cuba Street, and Oriental Bay. Historic earthquakes in 1848 and 1855 transformed the city further – Oriental Bay was uplifted by 1.5 metres, and reclamation and draining the wetlands were considered priorities by the authorities. As the volume of waste being generated grew, many waterways became polluted. The solution was piping and culverting the streams underground.

Ann Reweti blog about the history of places – Wellington City Libraries

Site information

Waitangi Stream

Location: Hauwai | Basin Reserve

Detail of 1841 Wellington town plan with square grids and outline of water canal and inland harbour.

Hauwai/Basin reserve on 1841 Wellington town plan (Alexander Turnbull Library, MapColl-832.4799gbbd/1841/Acc.16266)

Waitangi Stream runs under Cambridge Street/Kent Terrace from Hauwai, the historic wetland now known as the Basin Reserve. These have been significant changes to the land in this area.

Analysis of change and continuity in history – Te Akomanga

Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum areas:

  • Tūrangawaewae me te kaitiakitanga | Place and environment

Waimāpihi Stream

Location: Z petrol station, Vivian Street

Waimapihi Stream artwork made from historic brick culvert next to information panel with text and historic photographs.

Waimapihi Stream artwork (Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage)

Waimāpihi Stream is named after the waters of Māpihi, a rangatira and tīpuna of Ngāi Tara and Kāti Mamoe. She is said to have bathed in the waters of the stream. During renovations to the Z service station on Vivian Street in 2012, a historic culvert for Waimāpihi Stream was unearthed. An artwork has been made from this clay culvert remembering the history of Waimāpihi. Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust education coordinator Neavin Broughton (Te Atiawa), who helped examine the Z station site's history, said middens (old food waste dumps) on the site containing shells and old roots dated back 600 years. ‘This stream fed right into the Te Aro Pa and there has been continuous occupation for 600 years,’ he said. ‘It is quite a significant site.’ Waimāpihi was culverted during the 1880s. The stream goes underground at the top of Holloway Road in Aro Valley, runs underneath Aro Valley and enters Wellington Harbour beside the lagoon at Frank Kitts Park.

Pōneke by Ruby Solly is a brilliant example of place-based narrative – Bandcamp

Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum areas:

  • Tūrangawaewae me te kaitiakitanga | Place and environment
  • Whakapapa me te whanaungatanga | Culture and identity

Te Aro Park

Location: Dixon Street

Figure visible in one of Te Aro Park's pools of water.

Artistic detail from Te Aro Park (Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage)

Te Aro Park is the largest public artwork in the country. Shona Rapira Davies (Ngāti Wai ki Aotea), supported by Kura Te Waru Rewiri (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Rangi and Ngāti Raukawa ki Kauwhata), handcrafted almost 30,000 ceramic tiles for Te Aro Park. These tiles have been carefully pieced together in patterns, painted with images, and inscribed with words. The park is designed in the shape of a waka and is a historic pā site.

Waka and teaching New Zealand history – Te Akomanga

Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum areas:

  • Kōwhiringa ohaoha me te whai oranga | Economic activity 
  • Whakapapa me te whanaungatanga | Culture and identity
  • Tūrangawaewae me te kaitiakitanga | Place and environment

Pukeahu Education Centre (optional)

Location: Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

Pukeahu was once home to multiple brickworks. Students can create their own clay art as they make ukutangi/clay flutes at the Pukeahu Education Centre.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum areas:

  • Whakapapa me te whanaungatanga | Culture and identity
  • Tūrangawaewae me te kaitiakitanga | Place and environment
How to cite this page

'Hidden streams field trip', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/te-akomanga/education-at-pukeahu/hidden-streams-field-trip, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 9-Dec-2022

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