Children dream of growing up to become a plethora of different things, but it's unlikely many aspire to become the next engineer, boat designer, builder or sailor in the America's Cup.
However, a new programme called 'Kōkōkaha – Powered by the Wind' started in schools across the country earlier this year in the hope of inspiring tamariki to strive to be a part of the Cup.
Aimed at children in years 5-10, the initiative gives kids the opportunity to learn more about sailing by focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths.
Designed by Yachting New Zealand, the mainly classroom-based learning also has a practical aspect where the kids get to put their knowledge about the wind and sailing technology into practice on the water.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"We're encouraging an on-water component for the students to physically have a go at harnessing that power of the wind by having a go at sailing at the same time," said Yachting New Zealand National Sports Development Director Raynor Haagh.
"Ultimately we want them to have a really fun time and we want to help make learning fun in the classroom and out of the classroom."
Already, more than 20,000 students from 225 schools are involved in Kōkōkaha which roughly equates to 10 per cent of New Zealand kura.
Working in collaboration with Sport New Zealand and the Ministry of Education, Kōkōkaha is made up of three sets of classroom-based learning experiences. This includes four hands-on activities that challenge the kids to design technology to harness the wind as a means of taking action on climate change.
Part of the classroom learning sees children designing boats on paper then making them into polystyrene prototypes, making kites, studying floatation and many more creative concepts to get them actively thinking about Kōkōkaha.
"Linking this programme with the science, with the technology and engineering a mass curriculum for schools, it's a really nice tie-in and out of this we're hoping to inspire some of the kids in the classrooms to go onto become those boat designers, engineers and sailors of the future," said Haagh.
A second phase to the programme which will look at the environment and sustainability will be rolled out at a later date.