News article

The Stories of Otatara - Mānuka Class Otatara School

A broad overview of Otatara history was given to the Mānuka class over 2 sessions (26 Oct and 2 Nov). Without the use of the floor map that we have in the education centre the students created their own map in the classroom. As the stories of the Otatara place were told and discussed we stopped to add features to our map. First the Oreti River and the New River Estuary (which were also the early transport routes), the bush extent of 1865 and flaxmill sites, learning how Otatara Bush (as it was named) was a bush community and early sawmilling and flax milling operated. The changing location of Otatara School, the creation of tramline access from Invercargill, the reclamation of the estuary, and the development of the airport and the roading network all contributed to showing the changes that have occurred since people arrived in this area and how they have used the natural resources offered. One change discussed was how we now place different values on the bush and estuary habitats and how differently we manage the environment today. Looking at the treasures that Otatara has now - our bush remnants, how these are managed, the reasons why we value forest habitats, and the importance of planting were highlighted. It will be interesting to see what aspect of Otatara history that this class investigates further as there were amazing questions asked.