Kuaka the Explorer

The story of who we are comes from the people and places that are important in our life. This activity encourages children and young people to visit the places that are important to them and their family– it’s about exploring and capturing their place in this world.

To help make this exploration more engaging and meaningful, we have developed a mascot, “Kuaka the Explorer” – a cheeky character who loves going on adventures and having photos taken!

Suggested activity

  • Make your own Kuaka the Explorer. You can use the template provided (PDF 156 KB), or make your own, and it could be fun to decorate and personalise. Family and friends might like to join you - kuaka travel in flocks!

  • Discuss what places you want to explore – some ideas to get you started are listed below.

  • Record the places you have explored with your kuaka. You could do this by taking a series of photos, drawing pictures, write a story – these could be used to make a photo montage or scrapbook.

  • Share your Kuaka the Explorer adventures with others – host a show and tell evening with your family/whānau, or email us your photos to share on this page - and tell us where you went!

Exploration ideas

  • Explore your “favourite” places, or places that relate to “the story of you”, such as the bush, beach, river, mountains – or perhaps a special garden or tree house.

  • Explore places where you gather with others and/or celebrate special occasions, such as a marae, church, school, community hall, or sports grounds.

  • Explore places with a family connection, such as where your family members were born and the houses they grew up in, the schools they went to, and places they worked.

  • Explore places of local significance, such as monuments, museums, cemeteries, parks and reserves (you might like to look on the internet for suggestions).

  • You’ll have lots of ideas too, which is great. Kuaka the Explorer is about exploring who you are (your identity) and where you come from (your whakapapa), and recording it so that you can share your story with others.

The kuaka, or bar-tailed godwit, has a strong sense of place. This resilient bird undertakes one of the longest known migrations with an annual 11,000 km non-stop migration from the Arctic to New Zealand. Kuaka fly in a flock, taking turns between leading the pack and supporting the leader. Image sourced from  iNaturalist

The kuaka, or bar-tailed godwit, has a strong sense of place. This resilient bird undertakes one of the longest known migrations with an annual 11,000 km non-stop migration from the Arctic to New Zealand. Kuaka fly in a flock, taking turns between leading the pack and supporting the leader. Image sourced from iNaturalist