Tu meke Tuatara

Do you know that the tuatara is New Zealand’s largest reptile and is often called our living dinosaur? Room 14 do!

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Tu meke Tuatara is a picture book with a positive message written by Malcolm Clarke. Surrounded by New Zealand native plants and animals, Roger the ruru attempts to cheer up his friend, Tahi the tuatara. Tahi discovers that helping out a friend in need was enough to cheer him up.

Tahi has great friends and other people care about him.

Tahi the Tuatara woke up and saw his friend Ruru. They helped Pepe the penguin get out of the rubbish.

Tahi felt blue. His friend Ruru came over to make him happy. They saved the penguin from the rubbish. 

Reading this together prompted a discussion around the environment, the animals that live in it and humans. Looking carefully at the illustrations in the text, we could spot a number of  native plants and animals - taonga to Aotearoa, New Zealand, hidden and camouflaged in their natural environment. They quickly realised that it was in fact humans that created an issue for Pepe the penguin - looking at the clues in the illustration and the text.

The penguin got rubbish on its neck. Luckily the penguin did not die and luckily it didn’t choke. Laila-Jade

The penguin was stuck and Tahi helped the penguin get out of the rubbish.

The penguin was stuck in the rubbish but then Roger came and Tuatara came and they got the rubbish off him.

Pepe the penguin got plastic around his neck. Tahi went to help Pepe the penguin.

Inspired by the Flox illustrations, Room 14 created a native plant background using pencil and then vivid and dye.

Taking care to fill the space and use plant images from the book, they experimented with the dye to create a vibrant environment for their tuatara.

Take a look at some of the final art pieces - can you spot the tuatara camouflaged in its native plant environment?

2024 Foley

Jenna Foley

My journey in education has taken me down many different paths including teaching in an Area school, urban English and Welsh schools, small semi-rural schools and in a purpose built Innovative Learning Environment.

Teaching at Wairakei Primary School allows me to use so many of the skills I gained in these different settings - as well as acquiring so many more. I consider myself a life-long learner and continuously strive to build on my knowledge of teaching and education in order to create the best possible outcomes for students.

In my spare time I enjoy playing netball, reading, getting out and about with my two children and making the most of what this area has to offer.


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