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Students from the Maori immersion class at Te Kura A Rito O Newton (Newton School) in Central Auckland have won major awards as part of a nationwide photographic competition held to celebrate the 2010 United Nations International Year of Biodiversity.

Click here to go to another site to see all entries

The competition is hosted by the Department of Conservation, NZ National Commission for UNESCO, NIWA, and Forest & Bird. It celebrates New Zealand's unique plant and animal life and to mark the 2010 UN International Year of Biodiversity.

Adults and young people around New Zealand submitted 350 photographs that captured different elements of New Zealand's biodiversity.

This is the first year the competition has taken place. Te Kura A Rito O Newton sent in more entries than any other school - their students also submitted all their biodiversity statements in te reo Maori as well as in English.

Principal Hoana Pearson paid tribute to the young photographers and their teacher, Ruth Lemon. "Our children learn from a curriculum that has social justice and equity at its heart. They are critical thinkers who consciously take on learning and challenges," says Ms Pearson.

Education Review Office staff have noted that students at Te Kura A Rito O Newton are encouraged to "achieve their potential and actively participate as citizens of the world."

Wildlife photographers Craig Potton, Kim Westerskov, and Norman Heke from Te Papa judged the competition. The competition had sections for 'Land and Sky', 'Water' and 'People and Biodiversity', with an adult and youth category for each section. Te Kura A Rito O Newton received a special school award.

In addition to this, student Tikirau Hathaway (12) won the "People and Biodiversity" youth section and Rawiri Milne (12) came second in the "Land and Sky" youth section. The overall winners and category winner photos are on display at ZEALANDIA: The Karori Sanctuary Experience in Wellington from 16 September - 18 October 2010.