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Hutt Valley teacher paves the way for tech, wins a Prime Minister’s Prize

By Ashton Young, Wed 29 Mar 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Technology is undoubtedly a crucial part of modern schooling – after all, the old adage states ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’.

It’s why National List MP based in the Hutt Valley, Chris Bishop is over the moon to hear a Prime Minister’s Science Prize has been awarded to Stokes Valley science teacher, Dianne Christenson.

Christenson received the award for her work as curriculum leaders for science at Koraunui School in Stokes Valley. She will receive a whopping $150,000, with $100,000 of that going back to the school.

Bishop says teachers like Christenson are exactly what New Zealand’s ‘technology valley’ needs.

“Educating our next generation of scientists and explorers is a hugely important job,” says Bishop.

“It’s fantastic to see Dianne recognised for her hard work.”

Interestingly Christenson is in fact the first primary school teacher to ever receive the award – the Science Prizes were first introduced in 2009.

“These Hutt kids are lucky to have someone so experienced and interested in her subject passing on her knowledge to them,” says Bishop.

“Koraunui’s science programme teaches kids the importance of our environment and how to protect it. From installing beehives to cleaning up local waterways, Dianne’s work has taught so many young Kiwis about conservation.”

According to Bishop, Christenson’s work has inspired a range of positive flow-on effects, including better attendance and a reduction in bad behaviour as more kids enjoy what they’re learning.

“Dianne should be immensely proud of the work she has put in to growing Hutt kids and she is totally deserving of this prize,” says Bishop.

“The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes aim to celebrate the achievements of talented scientists in New Zealand and attract more young people into science careers. Dianne, the team at Koraunui and their dynamic students make excellent ambassadors for the New Zealand science sector.”

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