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The Whitebait Connection Programme for Schools

 Whitebait Connection offers many services, including our hands-on science and conservation action focused programme for schools. Check out this video to hear from students, teachers, whānau and WBC coordinators what the Whitebait Connection programme for schools is all about and how you can get involved.



Our vision:

  • To have schools, tangata whenua and community groups actively involved in stream and catchment restoration throughout New Zealand
  • To provide ongoing support for all participating groups and schools incorporating cutting edge, practical environmental education
  • To gain a better understanding of the distribution and the abundance of whitebait and other freshwater fish species as well as pest fish species
  • To share knowledge about the effects of landuse practices on freshwater ecosystems and to strengthen the relationship between government departments, schools, community groups and tangata whenua.


 Download our brochure here


Or look for WBC in your area here


Instream Workshops Procedures - School Programme / Community Group


1. To see if their is a coordinator in your region and to find their contact details go to WBC coordinators

1.1 Initial contact is established, usually by email or a phone call, with the Principal or a referred teacher (Head of EE, Science Dept, etc).

1.2 Alternatively, the school or group contacts WBC coordinator by telephone, e-mail, or the WBC website contact page. If contact is by phone, a brief introduction and overview of the WBC programme is provided. The coordinator will propose a meeting with the principal and/or interested persons.

1.3 An appointment time for a meeting &/or staff presentation is made.

Staff meeting or presentation conducted at school or site

2.1 Tikanga is practised and observed when working in Kura Kaupapa Māori and places of similar area.

2.3 WBC overview is presented -

  • Introduction, background, objectives of the programme
  • Activities and experiences
  • Past, current projects and work with other schools
  • WBC resources and equipment
  • WBC stages of involvement (exploration to restoration)
  • Health & Safety requirements (e.g ratios for adult supervision by water, permission).
  • Discuss, develop a suitable programme for your school/group
  • Logistics

2.4 Site visit by WBC staff to assess safety and suitability. Land owner, teaching staff and group leaders informed and invited to attend.

  • Complete health & safety protocols, check road/land access issues or concerns. Take site photographs.

2.5 Field trip planning

  • Schedule suitable dates and time to introduce and deliver programme to class or group (req. approx 3 hours), incl. tentative rain check dates

Engagement and exploration

3. Confirmation of field trip is made 1-3 days prior to scheduled date.

3.1 WBC coordinator arrives at least 30 minutes before start time to prepare for in-stream workshop.

  • Facilitator to set-up WBC resource kits:
  • Large invertebrate nets
  • Fish scoop nets
  • Sample containers, sorting boxes
  • Magnifiers, pipettes, clarity measurer/secchi disk
  • Books, i.d information on freshwater fish, invertebrates, plants, weeds & algae.
  • (Technical equipment maybe available in some regions – microscopes, hand held meters)

3.2 Group arrives at workshop site;

  • Formal greetings
  • Brief enquiry conducted about catchment area, habitat, freshwater systems
  • Potential hazards and risks associated with activities are explained to the group.
  • Workshop sites, boundaries and safety procedures are given to the group and leaders
  • Demonstrate use and care of field equipment and resources. Incl. enter/access water, monitoring and sampling techniques, identification, etc.

3.3 Adult leaders designated to groups (safety ratio 1:4-6 depending on student's age).

  • Groups provided with individual resource kits.

3.4 In-stream activities commence.

  • WBC group activities involve;
  • Monitoring water clarity, temperature, pH.
  • Sampling/i.d of macroinvertebrates
  • Capture and study of freshwater fish
  • Study of the freshwater eco-system incl. plants, algae, weeds, and other animals.

3.5 All participants remain in their designated areas to collect, i.d and record samples.

  • 3.6 On completion of workshop return all samples (alive) to water.
    Group then returns to ‘central’ site for de-brief and discussion of results.

3.7 Facilitator to tally and pack equipment.

3.8 Clean equipment thoroughly to avoid transportation of invasive/noxious weed species.

3.9 Pack and store equipment in dry conditions.

Post Field Trip

4. Optional follow-up session conducted with staff and students (appointment made by prior arrangement)

4.1 Results of practical workshop are discussed. i.e monitoring data, identified impacts such as pollution, fish barriers, erosion, lack of riparian cover.

4.2 Problem solving for positive solutions and a draft action plan may follow

4.3 As each group is participating at varying stages of the programme the scale of WBC involvement will differ from project to project.

  • WBC Towards Action

4.4 WBC assistance may involve areas such as:

  • Providing advice on suitable restoration methods
  • Linking groups with local/regional stakeholders and organisations
  • Help to plan and/or assist with clean-up projects, planting days, 'celebration of success’ events (e.g World Water Day 2004)
  • Funding advice and support
  • Facilitate emerging processes