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The Drains to Harbour Project

The Drains to Harbour (DTH) project has engaged 80% of Whangarei Schools in stormwater education since 2006, stencilled over 300 stormwater drains and installed over 200 permanent drain plaques which help to remind the community that anything that goes down the drain ends up in our waterways and harbour.

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The DTH project empowers schools and communities by providing hands-on experiences in the environment. After these experiences, students are encouraged to put their knowledge into action within the community.

The Drains to Harbour (DTH) project was successfully piloted in the winter of 2006 and has now been running in Whangarei for 8 years, thanks to support from the Whangarei District Council. The Whitebait Connection is committed to continuing to provide this programme to schools in the Whangarei District and continue to make the programmes resources available nationally.

The DTH programme involves a classroom introduction to stormwater pollution sources and effects, a field trip to a local stream to investigate water quality, an optional visit to the Whangarei Wastewater Treatment Plant or Dragonfly Springs stormwater polishing wetlands and an opportunity for students to use the DTH stencils to spray-paint the DTH message near stormwater drains in the surrounding community, and associated classroom student activities  and teacher information resource booklet.

The DTH programme uses eco-friendly Paint Plus products for drain stencilling.

The Drains-to-Harbour programme offers

  • Free posters, brochures and relevant information for your school to keep.
  • Free stormwater pollution presentation (led by DTH educator, using PowerPoint, video and sound)
  • Free coordination/organisation of field trips to local stream, wastewater treatment plant and drain stencilling sites.
  • Free curriculum and safety management planning with teachers involved.
  • Free coordination of volunteers to assist on field trips. A maximum of 1 class (or 30 students) per school can participate in coordinated field trips to local streams at one time. A maximum of 6 students per school can participate in the drain labelling exercise outside school grounds. All students can participate in a ‘chalk art’ activity within the school grounds and help to spread the DTH message.

The DTH campaign is a professional stormwater pollution awareness campaign coordinated in Northland by Kim Jones (National WBC programme coordinator, Environmental Management and Conservation Diploma, Certificate in Business Administration and Computing) and Nicki Wakefield (Bachelor of Science).

We are committed to the care and safety of all who we associate with.

To register your school’s interest and arrange initial meeting, please contact Kim Jones by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 09 434 0779. The DTH programme is currently supported by The Whangarei District Council (WDC) and the Mountains To Sea Conservation Trust.

See what other schools have been up to by clicking on the links below:

Whangarei Intermediate School

Whangarei Intermediate School's Drains to Harbour Programme

Whangarei Intermediate School have taken part in the DTH programme in 2010, 2012 and 2013.

Four classes at WIS participated in the DTH programme with coordinator Kim Jones in 2010. Students learnt about DTH in the classroom and tested the quality of the water in their school stream (Waiarohia), designed their own stormwater drain art and stencilled the school drains. They found very poor water quality in the Waiarohia so decided they would like to do DTH again in the future with a focus on taking action for the stream.

IMG 0125IMG 0936When they did the programme in 2012, students went on a journey from the Whangarei Falls to the Town Basin along the Hatea River walk testing and viewing water quality along the way. Students were inspired by seeing many things including an Eel above the Whangarei Falls! They took action by stencilling some of the school drains and creating drain art designs for storm water drains. Glenis Goodall has been passionate about water quality and environmental education for some time now and since doing the programme has been involved with NRC’s WaiRestoration teacher leadership days and won the NIWA SHMAK (stream health and monitoring assessment kit). She now continues to monitor water quality with her class on an ongoing basis.

IMG 8646Two Year 7 classes from Whangarei Intermediate School took part in the DTH programme with coordinator, Kim Jones in Term Three, 2013. Students learnt about DTH in the class before visiting their local Waiarohia Stream where they found a mixture of good and bad things which inspired them into action. Some students stencilled the school drains that hadn’t been done by the 2012 students and others have made action plans that will be undertaken in Term Three including the creation of a book to keep in the school library explain the DTH connection, a school assembly skit and presentation of the book, explore the idea of planting next to the Waiarohia Stream including writing a letter to the Northland Regional Council, undertaking a daily litter duty, writing letters to the paper about the need to keep rubbish out of the waterways, doing a science fair project about DTH and making a banner saying “No Seaweed = No Sushi”.

You can check out a photo story of their stream study by clicking on the link below

Whangarei Primary School

IMG 2687Lynda Foster’s Year 6 extension class did the DTH programme with coordinator Kim Jones in Term Two, 2013.  The students learnt about the topic in the classroom before planning their field trip to the Waiarohia Stream.  Their stream visit proved a very powerful experience for many of the students, reinforcing key messages and providing a meaningful context to their learnings.  It also offered a source of inspiration for future learning.  Students went on to research the creatures that they found and plan actions they could take to help their local environment.  They have planned these actions, delivered a presentation at their school assembly about what they've leanrt so far, and will be carrying out their actions in Term Three, 2013 including a stream clean up and drain stencilling session around the school.  A short clip has been made showing their DTH journey and this will be complete and available to view once the actions have been completed in Term Three. 

In the mean time, the photo story of their stream study can be seen here:


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