Winning schools celebrate success at UNESCO Living Heritage Awards 2009

Laurence Zwimpfer - 2020 Contracts DirectorPress Release: Three New Zealand primary schools which each created a Living Heritage website have received a UNESCO Living Heritage award during the National Digital Forum, held earlier this week at Te Papa in Wellington.

The awards recognise the schools’ creative contributions to the preservation of New Zealand’s history and culture. 

Living Heritage is an online bilingual (English-Maori) initiative that enables New Zealand schools to develop content for and publish websites about a heritage treasure in their community (www.livingheritage.net.nz). Living Heritage preserves history and culture in a digital format for every generation to enjoy, and allows children to share their view of New Zealand on the Internet. 

‘It was great to see such well researched and written sites on the Living Heritage website, and to see the children put so much time and effort into preserving their community’s history’ said Laurence Zwimpfer, from the 2020 Communications Trust, which partners with CWA New Media and the National Library of New Zealand in supporting the Living Heritage programme. “We also appreciate the support of the government’s community partnership fund; this support and the matching contribution from CWA New Media are critical in providing the programme at no cost to schools.” 

The purpose of the UNESCO Living Heritage award is to celebrate the achievements of schools successfully working with digital media in areas that contribute to UNESCO’s objective of promoting collaboration among nations through education, science, culture and communication. 

The independent judging panel evaluated sites published since June 2007 (a total of 30) and selected three winning schools; Northland School (Wellington), Mahana School (Nelson) and Hauraki School (Takapuna). 

The awards were presented to representatives from each school, along with a plaque of recognition and a cheque for $1,000 by Paul Smith, the Communications Commissioner from the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO. 

“The children really enjoy seeing their hard work on a website knowing that it will be stored by the National Library forever. Teachers recognise Living Heritage as a special learning opportunity with strong curriculum links” says Mr Zwimpfer. 

The judges felt Mahana School’s site really captured the experiences and discoveries the students made as they researched their Living Heritage topic. “The site was beautifully presented, with a lovely clean layout. It was easy to read, made great use of mixed media and displayed creativity in putting the stories together” says Suzanne Jones, convenor of the judging panel. 

“We loved the community involvement and use of experts on the Hauraki Primary School site” added Suzanne. “The students researched the project well and produced a balanced and informative site. There was great multimedia use, including creative movies and PowerPoint storybooks. The fabulous images and unique navigation used showed a high level of creativity.” 

The judges also praised the detailed research which Northland School students carried out for this site. “The content was very clearly written and easy to understand. Excellent use was made of original historic resources from New Zealand and France and these were displayed though great use of multimedia” concluded Suzanne. 

Visit the Living Heritage website to access the schools’ sites or to find out more information about Living Heritage.