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Constructive Kids

24 Jun 2021
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Kāinga Ora’s Junior Construction Plus programme is all about creating opportunities for school children to learn about the large-scale developments happening in their areas.

Students have a chance to talk to construction professionals about why the changes are happening, to see how the development comes together – and think about their own potential futures.

The programme team, headed by manager Nigel Chandra, set up an engagement day recently with Ōwairaka Primary and Christ the King Primary, involving a primary group (years four to six) and an intermediate group (years seven and eight).

Members of the Roskill Development team, working in the Ōwairaka neighbourhood,  and our partner organisations worked with the students using interactive, hands-on activities designed to plant the seeds (Whakatokia nga purapura) of ideas for possible career pathways in construction or urban development.

There were six stations, run by Piritahi, Pipe Vision, and the Development’s project management and urban design planning teams. The students were divided into groups, then rotated through the stations, finding out what each team’s day-to-day involvement was within the development, then spending ten minutes engaged in each activity – a fast-moving learning experience is a fun one!

Piritahi’s job is to prepare land for building houses; they also upgrade infrastructure and public spaces. They ran three of the stations, where kids learned the rules of construction quite literally from the ground up. They looked at excavating, the ins and outs of pipework, and how big machinery works – with photo opportunities on a digger to finish with!

Students working at the Pipe Vision station learned about drainage, water mains and wastewater. They tested out the underground cameras used in pipe inspections and clambered into the huge pipe truck that was brought on-site.

Our urban design planners had students thinking like architects and designers by drawing a map of the neighbourhood, with the first group starting with their own homes. Each group contributed another piece of the puzzle: schools, libraries, hospitals, shops and restaurants to add to the community.

The project management team got the kids looking at the big picture at their station. There’s a lot of work to do to make sure all the projects needed to create a new housing development come together at the right times. By the end of the day, students had come to realise that developing a new community requires plenty of planning and collaboration!

There are lots of different roles within Kāinga Ora developments like Ōwairaka, and it’s just one of many projects happening around Tāmaki Makaurau. The Junior Construction Plus programme is a great way to get kids understanding some big ideas at an early age – a step towards their dreams of future careers.