Geography & Science

Wai-O-Tapu focuses upon schools visiting to study volcanic activity or sustainability from a Geography or Science learning perspective.

A quality learning experience is offered when students follow a self enquiry approach and actively engage in an out of class experience. On a visit to the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, teachers can choose from either external or internal Geography achievement standards for which their students can gather information.

Students can complete a worksheet to gather information for the topic VOLCANIC ACTIVITY for the external achievement standard:

  • -Other Geography levels catered for are Level 3 90702
  • -Achievement Standard 91007 “Demonstrate geographic understanding of environments that have been shaped by extreme natural events”

Wai-O-Tapu offers students the unique opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of the following:

Quote-Education1 Quote-Education2


Wai-O-Tapu is one of Rotorua’s iconic geothermal attractions.

Wai-O-Tapu is centrally located and easily accessible from most parts of the Central North Island.

Because it is located approximately 20 minutes drive south of Rotorua and 40 minutes drive north of Taupo, Wai-O-Tapu is uniquely placed to provide students with a unique insight into to the dynamics of the tourism industry within the region.

If required, informed guides are available for a few minutes by prior arrangement to cover off on points specifically identified by teachers.

Specific learning objectives at most levels of the New Zealand Curriculum can be covered in a visit.

They can also gather information to complete the internal achievement Standard on SUSTAINABILITY OF TOURISM in Rotorua.

These include the following:

  • Achievement Standard 91009 “Demonstrate geographic understanding of the sustainable use of an environment” – Credits 3.
  • “Analyse a cultural process” where students analyse how the cultural process of Tourism operates in Rotorua.

These can incorporate the uniquely different geothermal features:


Sustainability is important in two learning areas Education for Sustainability and Geography

Education for Sustainability

A sustainable future requires the development of ways of thinking and acting to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Students on a visit to Wai-O-Tapu can investigate the processes by which biodiversity and ecological processes are sustained.

Students should be able to complete the following unit standard:

  • Internal Achievement Standard 90811 “Describe the consequences of human activity within a biophysical environment in relation to a sustainable future.
  • This is worth 4 credits.


Sustainability is one of the key concepts in Geography and at Wai-O-Tapu students can investigate how sustainable interaction with the environment has been achieved by preventing, limiting, minimizing or correcting environmental damage to water, air and soil, as well as considering ecosystems and problems related to waste, noise, and visual pollution.

When booking a field trip through the Rotorua Education Network (REN) you will have access to the Level 1 Geography Internal Standard, AS 91009 (1.3): “Demonstrate geographic understanding of the sustainable use of an environment, Resource title: “Tourism in Rotorua”. There is a student task sheet which students can complete on the Wai-O-Tapu field trip which will assist students in completing the task in order to gain three NCEA credits.

Rotorua Education Network

The Rotorua Education Network (REN) is a first-of-its-kind tourism collective solely dedicated to the education industry to provide quality out of classroom experiences for students RENnationwide. All our members are Qualmark rated and members of the Rotorua Sustainable Tourism Charter.

Members have a curriculum-based educational component to their product or, in case of support services such as accommodation or transportation, have an added value component to their core service which is specifically developed for education groups.

What can the REN do for you?

  • We organise quotes, create customized itineraries specific to your needs including activities, accommodation and transportation, arrange bookings & vouchers and process all the payments.
  • Arrange speakers with tourism marketing staff or appropriate people with a working knowledge of the industry.
  • Provide resources for teachers and students, up-to-date information and statistics linking directly to curriculum.
  • We guarantee the most competitive rates with a 24-hour turnaround.
  • Save you time and money by booking through one source rather than individual operators.

For more information on the Rotorua Education Network and how they can help you plan your next classroom visit to Rotorua please visit

Curriculum & Resources

Students need to learn in a variety of contexts in order to gain the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values required to enjoy a healthy lifestyle; take responsibility for their own safety; form positive and respectful relationships with their peers, their teachers and the environment. Learning beyond the classroom can support the direction and contribute to the breadth of learning described by the national curriculum.

A visit to Wai-O-Tapu will meet the needs of the NZC in that the EOTC experience will work towards producing students who are confident, connected, actively involved, and lifelong learners. Sections of the NZC which can be covered are:

  1. NZC PRINCIPLES – learning to learn and future focus, VALUES of inquiry and curiosity, ecological sustainability,
  2. KEY COMPETENCIES such as managing self, relating to others and participating and contributing. Authentic contexts are essential for developing the key competencies.

Wai-O-Tapu is a rich site for developing, practicing, and demonstrating the key competencies in a range of contexts within and across learning areas beyond the classroom.

A SOCIAL INQUIRY APPROACH can be followed which will lead students to develop deeper conceptual understandings. Students can examine issues, ideas and themes by:

  • asking questions, gathering information and background ideas, and examining relevant current issues.
  • exploring and analysing people’s values and perspectives.
  • reflecting on and evaluating the understandings they have developed and the responses that may be required – students ask how the learning is significant for them.

This education website at present meets the needs of the achievement objectives in the Social Sciences learning area in Geography Level 6 and 8 but may be extended to include other levels and other learning areas such as Science.

EOTC Guidelines / EOTC home / EOTC / Education Outside The Classroom

The New Zealand Curriculum / Curriculum documents / The New Zealand Curriculum Online – NZ Curriculum Online

Secondary school Geography teachers bringing field trips to Rotorua when booking a visit to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland through the Rotorua Education Network website will be able to access N.C.E.A Geography student tasks and assessment schedules.

On a visit to the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, teachers can choose from either external or internal Geography achievement standards for which their students can gather information.