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YNZ launch Kōkōkaha programme for schools

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All school children in New Zealand will have the opportunity to learn more about sailing through a new schools programme that focuses on the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) associated with harnessing the power of the wind.

The new school programme is called Kōkōkaha – Powered by the Wind and will be available to schools and kura throughout New Zealand from term one 2021 as the 36th edition of the America’s Cup unfolds.

The programme has been designed by Yachting New Zealand and is aimed at students in years 5-10 but can easily be adapted for older and younger children. 

It's mostly classroom-based, delivered by teachers, but there will be an opportunity for students to go sailing at their local club or waterway so they can put their knowledge about the wind and sailing technology into practice if schools are interested in this option. Sailing experiences for up to 30 students take place over a full day at a Kōkōkaha sailing centre or suitable sailing venue using the Kōkōkaha roaming trailers at a cost of $10 per student.

It is envisaged that, in time, there will be a network of clubs throughout New Zealand that can deliver the programme in partnership with their local schools and Yachting New Zealand.

"We are really excited to launch Kokokaha in term 1 2021" Yachting New Zealand National Sport Development director Raynor Haagh said. "This is a new programme designed to bring sailing into the classroom and lives of all kiwi kids, and inspire them to engage in the STEM subjects and the marine environment. We will be able to reach students who may have had no exposure to sailing or even the water before and get them excited about something that is a big part of NZ’s history and identity. With the excitement of the America’s Cup being hosted in New Zealand next year, and these boats being the pinnacle of innovation and technology, we see this as a perfect time to engage schools and students and hope we can enthuse them to become the engineers, boat designers, builders or sailors of the future."

Yachting New Zealand have for the last 15 years been delivering the Volvo Sailing... Have a Go! programme for schools which delivered on Sir Peter Blake’s vision of every child in Aotearoa New Zealand having the opportunity to try sailing. A recent review of the programme identified opportunities where we could enhance the value of the programme for both the students, schools and clubs.

The Volvo Sailing... Have a Go! programme will still be offered in the South Island this summer.

Kōkōkaha has come to life with the help of a Curious Minds grant and Sport NZ and is made up of three sets of classroom-based learning experiences delivered by teachers at school. Each classroom set includes four hands-on experiences to help students learn about the power of the wind. Teachers can choose to use any number or combination of learning experiences they like and more modules will be developed over time. 

When the wind blows

  • Discovering wind: What is wind and why is it important?
  • Which way: How to measure wind direction (design and build a wind vane)
  • The need for speed: How to measure wind speed (design and build an anemometer)
  • Wind and wave: The effect of wind on the sea

A force to be reckoned with

  • Tāwhirimātea is howling: Discovering the Maori atua of wind
  • Wind again and again: Using wind to generate energy
  • Wonders of wind turbines: How do wind turbines work?
  • Why do sailors love the wind? How do sailors harness the power of the wind?

How sailboats work

  • Float your boat: How and why do boats float?
  • Sail away: What are the parts of a sail boat and how do they work?
  • Sail power: How do sails, wings and foils work?
  • Sailing over time: How have sail boats changed over the years?

Students are then challenged to design a technology to harness the power of the wind which can be submitted to the Kōkōkaha website and the winning designs will receive a school visit and sailing experience with members of the New Zealand Olympic sailing team.

See here for more information on Kōkōkaha. Schools simply need to register on this website to receive the free teacher's pack and to book their sailing experience.