Topic: Trout Hatchery

Topic type:

Trout Hatchery

When the science teacher at the time, Lawson Campbell, saw the potential for the old ponds and empty vats near the school as a small scale ʻcrawlieʼ farm to help enhance the science programme, the M.I.S trout hatchery programme was born. The ponds and vats belonged to the Wellington Acclimatisation Society and were fairly run down. With permission granted to use them, the students set about the task of cleaning up and preparing the area for use. The studentsʼ effort so impressed the Acclimatisation Society that they offered the school some trout ova. After Mr Campbell spent three days in Ngongotaha gathering information about trout rearing, the programme was set to go.

In June 1981, the school received 5,000 rainbow trout ova and the once idle facilities were fully functioning again. From the beginning the success rate was high and after thirteen months, 4000 trout were released into rivers and streams in the Wairarapa and Manawatu regions. The following year 10,000 rainbow trout ova were supplied and the school also began rearing brown trout, an even greater challenge as they are much more delicate and sensitive to handle and care for.

The trout programme cost the school nothing. The cost of restoring the ponds and maintaining the grounds was met by the Acclimatisation Society and the facility was invaluable as a teaching aid. The students learnt about the operation of a trout hatchery and about trout life cycles. The interest and enthusiasm of the teams responsible for looking after the hatchery were proof of its success. Hatchery assistants were selected from students who expressed a wish to work in the hatchery. At any time there were twelve hatchery assistants who worked on a roster system to tend the fish from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, including weekends and holidays, and the operation of raising trout continued.

More often than not, teachers do not know when they have inspired students or set them on a direction. Just prior to publication of this booklet, Lawson Campbell gave me an email:

"I have been thinking of how to contact you just to let you know about my sister who you inspired into her field through the work she did at the trout hatchery under your guidance. She went on to study in the environmental field gaining her Masters and speaking at international conferences in her specialist field of algae bloom and the coral reel".