Matariki- bringing us together

Last week our education team welcomed over 500 tamariki, along with kaiako and whānau, to celebrate Matariki, the Māori New Year. Each day schools enjoyed interactive storytelling, traditional games and kite flying. We invite local schools to take part annually – it’s all about having fun together as we learn about this special time of year, officially a public holiday from 2022.

There are many different stories of Matariki throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. As we explore some of them through traditional oral storytelling, drama and imagination, students become the storytellers, bringing to life the magic of Matariki.

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One more! A tama taiki (childrens' basket) full of Papatūānuku and Ranginui's tamariki help tell the creation story and how Matariki was formed
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Tamariki become the storytellers through drama and imagination as we explore traditional legends of Matariki

Groups enjoyed educational and entertaining tākaro (games) with tamariki and rangatahi.  Sports and games were an integral part of traditional Māori society and widely played during times like Matariki, which marks completion of the autumn harvest. The pātaka storehouses were full, leaving free time for relaxation, family, leisure and games.

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Variations of tug-of-war games with rākau-rona (poles) had some serious challenges going on, as well as cooperative play
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A very determined group of students battle it out with the adults in a fun rākau-rona challenge

Students loved decorating and flying colourful paper kites. Kites, known as manu tukutuku or manu aute, have always been important in Māori culture, especially during winter when they were flown to signify the start of Matariki.  Manu translates as kite or bird and tukutuku refers to the winding out of the string as the kite climbs. Seen as connectors of the heavens and the earth, kites were also a means of communication, and one village would often signal to the next that a meeting was needed by flying a kite.

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Maybe the people in Russell across the water will get the message that Kawakawa School would like a hui!
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The Treaty Grounds is the ideal spot to fly kites; after decorating their kites, tamariki made the most of the wide open spaces overlooking the beautiful bay. 

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou ngā kaiako, ngā ākonga me te whānau o ngā kura katoa. A big thank you to the teachers, students and families of all the schools who came along. It was a great time of connecting with others and having fun together while learning about this special time of year.

From July 19-23, our education team is running a Matariki-themed School Holiday Programme – find details here – we’d love to see you there!

Explore Matariki and try fun holiday activities at home with whānau – check out our resource filled with Matariki ideas.

12/7/2021  I.Rider