Sep 15: Create a bean tepee

Learn about the Chathams, build a teepee!

Written by      

Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • In the intro we learn some facts about the Chathams – did you know about any of these? That Chatham Islanders talk about “New Zealand” rather than “the Mainland?” That Chatham Islanders call themselves Wekas, not Kiwis? The 45 minute time difference
  • After reading the article, what are some of the ways you can see that Chatham Islanders are “resilient yet reliant,” “independent yet dependent”?
  • An all-weather wharf and a new runway capable of landing a larger plane (like a Boeing 737) are both infrastructure upgrades that would make a huge difference to the lives of Chatham Islanders. From reading about them, which one do you think sounds more helpful?
  • Looking at the pictures, what clues do you get about life in the Chatham Islands, such as the weather, the landscape, or the lifestyle? What would it be like to grow up in a place that is cut off from the main centres – what might be awesome and what might you miss about where you live now?
  • What do you find inspiring about the story of seventh-generation Chatham Islander Delwyn Tuanuii? How has he turned the Chatham Island’s isolation into a selling point?

Activity: Create a bean tepee

Get inspired toward self-sufficiency by the rugged Chatham Islanders! Make a structure on which you can grow beans (or sunflowers). Get it all prepared now and once garden centres are open for business, you will be ready to plant! If you plant in spring, by summertime you should have a nice leafy structure to hide away in.

You will need:

  • About 10 tall sticks or stakes (1.5m or taller is ideal)
  • String or wool
  • Scissors
  • A spade

Step One: Plan out a horseshoe shape on a reasonably flat, sunny section of the lawn or garden. The horseshoe should be large enough for a child to sit comfortably inside. Place the tall sticks at intervals of around 15cm around the horseshoe, bringing them together at the top and tying them with string.

Step Two: Once you are happy with the shape of your tepee, embed each stick more firmly into the ground and dig a small patch of soil around each one, so that there is loosened soil ready for when you can do your planting later on.

Step Three: Take the string and begin to lace it around the sticks from the bottom, right around the horseshoe and in a zig-zag shape upward to the top. This will provide the support your bean plants will need to attach to as they grow.

Send us a picture of you playing your bean tepee!