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Nā Tracey Kuiti

A totally isolated nesting habitat high up in the Arctic means that the Pacific godwit has a safe environment.

'Kūaka' story by Tracey Kuiti, with page numbers from He Kohikohinga 35.

P.6 Kūaka, kūaka e rere e, rere ki runga ki ngā taumata kē. Tiu ake, tiu iho, whakatopa ai. Kaua e wareware, rere hoki mai. Kūaka, kūaka bird of flight, Winging your way over lofty heights. Soaring up, swooping down, Soon you will be homeward bound.

Possible achievement objectives:

The Arts in the curriculum

Strands: Drama, Music, Visual arts
Level: 1

Achievement objectives:

  • Drama: Students will contribute ideas and participate in drama using personal experience and imagination.
  • Music: Students will select and organise sounds and express ideas drawing on personal experience and imagination.
  • Visual Arts: Students will express visual ideas in response to a variety of motivations, using imagination, observation and invention with materials.

Essential skills for assessment

Students will consistently:

  • identify, and process information from a range of sources (Information)
  • use imagination and logic to discover and apply solutions (Problem solving)
  • recognise group strengths as the most appropriate way of accomplishing a range of shared tasks (Social and co-operative).

Other curriculum areas:

Māori language: Oral, written, viewing

Activities to support the achievement objectives

1. Teacher directed

Resources: a variety of animal and bird pictures.

Pre-reading discussion:

  • Did you see any birds at your place this morning? Were they perching, flying, hopping, running or feeding on the lawn?
  • Has anyone ever seen a kiwi? What country do you think the kiwi comes from?
  • Has anyone seen a tūī? What country do you think the tūī comes from?

First read the poem to the class, then all read it aloud together.


  • Is the Pacific godwit a bird, an insect or an animal? How do we know that?
  • Look at its beak. In what ways would it use this beak?
  • Look at its feet. Are they for climbing, perching, wading or swimming?
    Write all the students' answers to create a word list on the blackboard.

At the end of the discussions, check the students' understanding of the main characteristics of the Pacific godwit and how to distinguish birds from other animal species. Read the poem again and ask:

  • What words best describe how the kūaka moves?
  • What does line two mean?

Encourage students to use musical instrumentation. Each group can perform for the rest of the class. Students should by now be able to recite or sing the poem from memory.

Display the animal pictures. Each group is to select one familiar animal, brainstorm and write a list of all its characteristics, and transfer their information onto a chart.


The cow farm animal
four legs walks; runs very slowly but not often
two ears soft and stick up at each side of the top of its head
tail long tail that swishes annoying insects from its back
hooves two toes
teeth, tongue always chewing; uses tongue to pull grass
voice gentle moo sound
udder full of milk; can be milked by hand or machine
calf born alive (one, sometimes twins)
relationships shares paddocks with horses, sheep, bulls and calves
food grass, hay, turnips; drinks water

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