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Students cook up their own Living Room Kitchen

When you’re at primary school, a four-year project can seem like a lifetime! But the students at Hukanui Primary School are dedicated and passionate, and don’t give up.

On Friday, they’re unveiling their latest Enviroschools student-led project, the Living Room Kitchen, which has been many years in the making.

The students have been involved right from the design stage of the Living Room Kitchen, which is a space where a class of 30 can cook healthy food straight from the school’s garden.

“They have a dream and they don’t give up on it,” says proud teacher Michelle White.

“They’re very focused, and if they think something is right they go for it. Everything is well planned and when they present to the board, well it’s very hard for the board to say no.”

The Living Room Kitchen builds on the concept of the garden to the plate. And there is a very bountiful garden at Hukanui Primary School.

“That’s because of the beehive here,” explains Michelle. “The pollination is awesome. And the gardens get fertilised by the chickens.”

Up until now, the students have been preparing and preserving food to eat in the Living Room, the school’s eco classroom which was another student-led project, but something more suitable – safe and hygienic – was needed for the task.

Michelle says the Living Room Kitchen is “fancy”. “It’s beautiful.”

There are six work benches with ovens and sinks, fridges, microwaves, cupboards and an outdoor oven. The build has environmental features such as solar panels and water tanks, and no treated timber has been used.

Enviroschools was piloted in the Waikato in 1997, with support by Waikato Regional Council. Hukanui Primary School was one of the three pilot schools to trial projects to integrate environmental education into school life.

Waikato Regional Council Communications and Engagement Manager Nicola Chrisp says Hukanui Primary School students have been avid supporters of the programme for over 20 years now and their projects, such as the Living Room Kitchen, are “mind blowing and totally inspiring”.

“They’re taking action and creating positive change.

“And the best part is the Waikato now has over 20,000 children taking part in Enviroschools each year. The programme is empowering our children to become lifelong learners and sustainable thinkers.”


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