Newsletter No. 239

August 10, 2023

Houghton Valley School Strategic Plan 2024

Houghton Valley School is developing a two-year strategic plan to replace their school charter for 2024, to fit with Government changes for school planning and reporting. They would love input from the wider community as well through a 5-10 minute survey.

The Board’s view is that the current vision statement – Caring, Exploring and Inspiring Together. Ka Manaaki, Ka Rapu, Ka Whakamanawa tahi ai tatou – is still serving the school well and would be happy for this to be carried through to the new strategic plan, but they would like to hear your thoughts on whether it needs updating. The Government has set some requirements for what else must be included in the strategic plan including:

  • Strategies for identifying and catering for learners whose needs have not yet been well met;
  • Strategies for giving effect to the Board’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations;
  • The strategic goals need to be linked with the national education requirements, including the National Education Learning Priorities, the curriculum, and other national education strategies.

There are some questions in the survey that relate to these requirements. You can fill in the anonymous online survey here. Surveys must be completed by 17 August.

Te Mauri O Te Wai in Houghton Valley/Haewai

The next Houghton Valley Progressive Association meeting is coming up on Sunday 27 August at 2 pm at the Houghton Valley Community Hall. For this meeting we would like to bring the focus back on our Lifting the Creek Project.

This project is about restoring Te Mauri O Te Wai, the health of the water that graces our valley with its presence: whether it be our freshwater springs and our creek buried under the landfill; the rainwater that rushes down the hills, off houses and along gutters during heavy rain; or the sea in Houghton Bay that is part of the Tapu Te Ranga marine reserve. Much of the water that lands in our catchment is directed into pipes beneath our old landfill, becoming contaminated with leachate. This water is generally directed to the sewer, but in heavy rain (and many other inexplicable times) this sometimes highly polluted water ends up in the sea.

Authorities and local officials are always keen when we suggest what could be done to fix the problem, but then nothing further happens because there is always something more urgent to fix, or not enough money. We have been knocked back several times despite a lot of effort bringing the plight of our water into the spotlight.

Finding a way through this impasse is the theme for this meeting. We will discuss what we know and would like to do, so that we can develop a brief for the project. Getting everything we know out of people’s head and into an inspiring document is an essential first step. We can also discuss what we can do with the brief once it is done. Could we develop a feasibility study for the project? How can we engage with authorities so that they can help us to advance the project, rather than expect them to do so? We hope you can participate – more details closer to the time.

Community gardens afternoon tea

Our next Koha Coffee will in fact be an afternoon tea/picnic, in the community gardens near the school. The afternoon tea will be on Sunday 10 September at 2pm, but there is likely to be a gardens working bee as well beforehand.

The Seeds-to-Feeds crew and local-legend-Leone will be preparing the food and drink, so expect a wonderful feast! There may be a few working bees between now and then to make sure the garden is looking good. More details to come, but save the date for now.

Headland happenings …

It was a  great afternoon up at the Alice Krebs Lodge to celebrate Founder’s Day for the Kae Miller Trust, and to show some community and Matariki care for Te Raekaihau. Lots of talking and eating in the lodge, walking on the headland, planting around the lodge and tackling the tradescantia infestation, a long overdue project, but still with quite a bit more to do despite an awesome effort. All in all about 33 people came. It was stunning weather too with beautiful early evening light.

More recently, Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau kicked their weeding season off tackling Helichrysum petiolare or Licorice plant, a weed from South Africa. Fortunately there is only one (known) infestation of the plant in the reserve so eradicating it from the headland means that they can focus on other priorities: Evergreen Buckthorn, Old Man’s Beard, tradescantia, Cape Ivy, Japanese Honeysuckle and English Ivy. Another beautiful day.

In case you haven’t got the message from the pictures, being up on the headland doing good things for the environment is the most wonderful way to spend a few hours, and certainly gives you a winter lift. Sign up to their Facebook Page for details about upcoming sessions.