Riding the River

Throughout time, New Zealand's rivers and streams have played significant roles in the lives of people, plants, and animals. They have been used for transportation, providing water, recreation, and supporting diverse ecosystems. This has been the learning focus of the Inquiry ‘A River Runs Through I…

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To deepen their understanding of our local waterways, Room 2 embarked on a journey of learning and discovery aboard the Huka Falls River Cruise. Despite the rainy conditions, there was an air of enthusiasm and excitement as the students made their way onto the boat. We were greeted by our friendly host Dave Kilmister, who has been operating the cruise since the early 2000s.

As we settled into the journey, students took opportunities to ask questions about the Aratiatia Dam, the Waikato River, local history  and the surrounding wildlife.

I learned that the Aratiatia Dam was built in 1964.

I learned that the Aratiatia Dam releases 65,000 litres of water per second when it opens.

The Waikato River is the longest in Aotearoa.

The pine trees along the river get cut down, because they are not good for the other trees.

I learned that the Australian black swan is introduced. The whio and longfin eel are native.

Students tried their hand at steering the boat, while others enjoyed the various sights and sounds of the river from the front viewing platform, the large rear deck, and the comfortable inside seating area. Michael was quick to spot a geothermal hotspot on the side of the river, while Amber observed foam floating past us, which was created by the Huka Falls.

As the boat gracefully navigated the crystal-clear waters, we eagerly anticipated the highlight of our journey - the thrilling experience of being under the waterfall itself. At this point of the trip, excitement among the students reached a new high. The boat circled around the falls several times,  allowing us to appreciate the true power and majesty of the Huka Falls, and providing plenty of photo opportunities.

I learned that the water is so blue because it is clean, and the reflection of the sun gives it that colour. I also learned that the water at the Huka Falls is 5 - 8 meters deep.

At full capacity the Huka falls can fill up an olympic swimming pool in 1 second.

As the rain began to pour down around us, the Huka Falls River Cruise proved to be an amazing adventure filled with wonder and discovery. The students' enthusiasm and curiosity, along with the guidance of our host, brought the rich history, flora and fauna, the mighty Waikato River, and the stunning Huka Falls to life. 

Huka Falls River Cruise Website

2024 Bucher

Jonas Bucher

I grew up on a farm near Whakamaru with my parents and four brothers. I have fond memories of growing up in the countryside and attending a rural primary school. My intermediate and highschool years were spent in Taupō, and I studied to become a teacher in Christchurch. I feel at home in Taupō, and am excited to be joining the Wairakei community.

My journey as an educator has allowed me to work both overseas, and in New Zealand in a variety of academic settings. I am passionate about learning, and love sharing this passion with the younger generations of today's world. My favourite thing about being a teacher is allowing students to spark their interests, pursue their curiosities and unlock their capabilities. I strive to create a positive and fun environment, in which children can thrive and grow.

Outside of school, I live an active lifestyle. I play football for Taupō AFC, and social cricket. I enjoy camping and travelling around the country with my partner Briana. I love spending time with my friends and family and being outdoors as much as possible.


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