It all started with a chocolate bar and a bird on the brink of extinction, but has turned into so much more for the children and staff of Richmond School.
Conservation coordinator Di Morgan kicked it all off by chance when working with groups throughout the school, including running a Samoan class. Here she has focused on how people in Samoa are being guardians of their wildlife including turtles, plastic and changes they are trying to make.
"Then our principal Shane talked to me about a whole school focus on Samoa linked to conservation, which we thought could help bring us all together."
Di did her homework and saw that The Chocolate Factory in Wellington was making chocolate bars and wrapping them in a picture of Samoa's national bird, the manumea.
"This spiked my curiosity and I contacted them. Steve Menzies is part of a Kiwi initiative to help fund projects to help manumea. He was really encouraging and sent a video for us to look at and for the children to comment on what they thought of it."
Di showed the children and then asked those interested if they would like to have a go at drawing the endangered bird. One of the teachers then suggested they have a competition. She says meanwhile Steve had sent the link of the person involved with the conservation society in Samoa who asked to see their drawings too.
"I was shocked to see how the manumea's numbers had plummeted despite people's best efforts — from 7000 down to 200. They are making one last massive effort to save it and Kiwis are helping educate groups with rat trapping."
Di says the manumea is often referred to as a "forest gardener" because its beak is able to eat the hard seeds of special trees and scatter them through the forest. She says Samoans are also involved in educating villagers, having a ban on shooting and forest clearance, etc.
"It is much more than just a bird. We are really talking about a bird probably on the verge of extinction and the forest it has lived in for thousands of years."
She says the concept of being guardians of our land, its islands and the islands of the Pacific is a strong one for Richmond School children.
"We want to build stronger community links with our Samoan families. We are hoping to capture the ideas and vision of our young people and how they see it."
She says education is everything.
"These children have a new voice and with their iPad skills and video skills can help promote the plight of the manumea. They need to educate themselves and then their parents, etc. It's just possible that some of our parents can remember the manumea."
Conservationist Jake Brookie judged the competition and chose Lyneisha Peivi's entry as the winner.
"I chose Lyneisha's artwork as I was so impressed by the detail she included. Her drawing wasn't just of the manumea but also of the berries it eats and the forest plants it lives in."