Earth Science and Living World. Students collecting data from river during field trip.
Investigate a pattern in an ecological community. Data collection on streams during field trip with Learning Journeys
Earth Science, Rivers study with Learning Journeys.
Field study during school trip with Learning Journeys.
Swimming opportunity after rivers data collection on school field trip.

Extreme Natural Events - Rivers

Floods are the most frequent and costly natural disasters in New Zealand. Between 1920 and 1983, the country experienced 935 damaging floods. The Insurance Council of New Zealand calculated that industry payments for flood damage between 1976 and 2004 averaged $17 million per year in 2004 dollars. But this covers just part of the actual cost – for example, government expenditure on civil defence responses during flood emergencies alone averages about $15 million per year over the same period.

The earliest indications of potential flooding are the heavy rain warnings issued by weather forecasters. In addition, the councils independently operate networks of automated instruments which measure rainfall and river levels. Data from these instruments, and high rainfall rates or rising river levels, may trigger automatic warnings to staff.

Regional councils have the primary responsibility for managing flood hazards. They monitor rainfall, river flows and lake levels, and maintain flood protection works. Council staff also determine likely rises in river and lake levels downstream, and supply warning information to communities. If necessary, they also organise evacuations, build sandbag barriers, and close roads.
Water pollution, caused mostly by the dairy industry, is another challenge for waterway managers and to the sustainability of New Zealand's fresh water ecosystems, especially as our unique fresh water fauna are the dinosaurs of the aquatic world.

Choice of activities

  • Collect data, comparing upper, mid and lower catchment channel characteristics, sediment load, flow rates, and macro-fauna.
  • Survey the macrofauna as an indicator of water quality.
  • Consider the benefits and hazards of our waterways.
  • Discuss flood mitigation with council engineers and make site visits.
  • Discuss flood related hazards and their management with Council planner.
  • Examine  hard and soft engineering strategies.
  • Help improve water quality by carrying out riparian planting.
  • Boat trip on Waikato River to understand human impacts on waterways. (extra cost)

New Zealand Certificate of Educational Achievement

Earth Science and Living World
  • AS90952 1.13 Demonstrate understanding of the formation of surface features in New Zealand.
  • AS91153 2.1 Carry out a practical investigation in a biology context, with supervision.
  • AS91155 2.3 Demonstrate understanding of adaptation of plants or animals to their way of life.
  • AS91158 2.6 Investigate a pattern in an ecological community, with supervision.

  • AS91007 1.1 Demonstrate geographic understanding of environments that have been shaped by extreme natural event(s).
  • AS91244 2.5 Conduct geographic research with guidance.
  • AS91430 3.5 Conduct geographic research with consultation.


Q1. Why do teachers choose to tour with Learning Journeys?

Using an outside provider like Learning Journeys allows you to avoid stress and save time to focus on the core demands of teaching and have more time with your family and friends.
  • Trips are well tried and tested and our local knowledge, New Zealand-wide, is extensive. • We’ll facilitate your trip as well as planning, recce-ing AND booking it (including transport, food and accommodation). Have as much or as little input as you want.
  • Our facilitators are secondary geography or science teachers with years of classroom as well as EOTC experience.
  • Trips are curriculum linked and can include NCEA assessment tasks.
  • RAMS forms, parents letters, gear lists and worksheets developed and provided for you.
  • We’re Qualmarked (Tourism New Zealand has checked us out as a safe, professional, company) and Dept. of Conservation approved.

Q2. Does it cost more for Learning Journeys to organise and run my school's science and geography trips?

Yes it does cost a little more per student. However, you need to factor in the time you'll save by using Learning Journeys. You will also save the cost of relief for staff who would otherwise have come from your school, since Learning Journeys will provide one or more facilitators who will contribute to staff-student ratios.

Q3. What about risk management?

Safety is always paramount in our trip planning and delivery. We are acutely aware of the responsibility of being entrusted with other people’s children. We will provide you with RAMS forms for all activities included in your programme.

Our Health and Safety Plan deals with every aspect of our operations and training. Hazard identification is carried out for every new activity and a RAMS (Risk Analysis and Management System) form is prepared. This process has been audited both by a Department of Conservation approved Safety Auditor and as part of our Qualmark® accreditation

Our teacher-facilitators are trained in safe practice and all have First Aid qualifications. The suppliers we use are fully qualified and experienced in their specialist areas and where available we choose to work with Qualmarked® operators. Their sound safety records are further guaranteed by the Qualmark®, accreditation process.
Qualmark® is New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality. All accommodation and tourism businesses carrying the Qualmark® have been independently assessed as professional and trustworthy, so you can book and buy with confidence.

Q4. Who are your facilitators?

Our trips are managed and facilitated by qualified science or social science secondary teachers with classroom experience as well as many years’ experience in the field.

Q5. How long have you been running field trips for New Zealand secondary students?

Since 2001. Our oldest client did 12 consecutive yearly 3 day trips to Goat Island and Tiritiri Matangi Island. Most other schools repeat trips year after year.
Request a quote Contact us
Tour Length
1 day
Year 11 - 13
Trip dates
By arrangement
Free teacher
For every 10 paying students
Minimum group size
10 Students
Price for 35+ students
From $47 incl. GST
Valid until 
Request a quote Contact us

Thank you again for another fantastic learning experience for the level 2 biology students! All had a great time and really enjoyed all the opportunities that you were able to give them on the trip.

Western Springs College, New Zealand

Our students LOVED the field trip. Many that did the trip last year want to do it again. It opened their eyes to some important conservation issues.

Trident High School, Whakatane

As you know, I think you give excellent value for money in so many ways, and I am always very outspoken when it comes to making what I consider to be false economies with penny pinching inferior alternatives.

Kingsway School, Auckland