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Mātauranga Whakauka Taiao Environmental Education for Sustainability (strategy and action plan 2017-21)

“This new Environmental Education for Sustainability Strategy refreshes the Government’s approach across agencies to ensure we equip our young people with the understanding, skills and motivation they need to help address New Zealand’s many environmental challenges… We are putting more emphasis on practical, hands-on environmental education. We want stronger linkages with the Government’s agenda on science and innovation. It is a more inclusive approach, reflecting the growth in Te Taha Māori. We also want to build a more collaborative culture among New Zealanders to help find solutions to our environmental problems.


The Strategy focuses on the key environmental challenges of climate change, water quality, biodiversity protection and waste. It recognises that informed and active communities are essential if we are to find lasting solutions. To reach a low greenhouse gas emissions future, each one of us needs to work on ways to cut our emissions. To retain our unique biodiversity, we need to engage nationwide in predator and pest control. To enhance water quality, we need both town and country to reduce pollutants getting into our waterways. To reduce waste, we need community commitment and innovative technologies.


We want to acknowledge and enable tangata whenua in their role as kaitiaki. We recognise the scale of the work and activity that is happening across New Zealand in recognising and growing the Māori perspective in environmental education. We aim to build on this to encourage more collaboration and action and create space for Māori wisdom and knowledge to grow.


Implementation of this strategy will help the Government achieve its environmental goals. Our agencies will be working together to focus on key overarching aspirational environmental goals, such as Predator Free New Zealand, as ‘rallying points’ for New Zealand’s environmental efforts. As a nation, we need to recognise the key challenges we must face together and where we can effectively take a global leadership position.


The Government is only part of the picture. We encourage individuals, communities and organisations to think about the part they can play in creating a healthy environment and prosperous society in which we can all thrive.


Environmental education for sustainability requires a uniquely Aotearoa New Zealand approach that will grow future environmental leaders and active environmental stewardship in this country. This document sets out a 4-year plan to support a longer-term vision.


Through this Strategy and Action Plan, we are committing to working together and with others to help all New Zealanders learn how they can take action to address the sustainability challenges we face locally and globally.” [Foreword]