A protest at Mana Beach near Patea on 20 August attracted more than 100 people. Photo/Lewis Gardner.

Pupils from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Ngati Ruanui planned to join hands with other members of the Hawera community this morning, making a 3km line from Waihi Beach back to the school.

Principal Mama Kumeroa says it is an important issue for the school because looking after the environment is part of the curriculum.

The action was intended to show support to those in the neighbouring town of Patea who opposed the mining of the seabed for ironsand.

The proposed mining operation off the South Taranaki coast would remove up to 50 million tonnes of seabed a year.

Ms Kumeroa said the school sent out notices to other schools in Hawera and was expecting other members of the community to make up numbers in the line.

She said there was support coming from all over the region.

Victoria University’s School of Education lecturer Andrea Milligan said there could be education benefits for children taking part in protesting.

She said observing and doing the same as adults was how children learned about being a member of society.

Dr Milligan said it was important for children to be given a chance to constructively contribute to society from a young age.

She said they could get a lot out of being part of a protest.

She said there was good evidence of children being able to think critically and carefully about issues in the community, that won’t affect them but might affect others in society.

Source: Stratford Press

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