Learning through ngā taonga tākaro
Over 300 awesome teachers, students and whānau from Morningside School in Whangārei took part in our Education Experience in Term 4. Ngā taonga tākaro (traditional Māori games) and waka were a big focus with lots of fun, hands-on learning. It’s wonderful that all students from foundation level up to Year 6 had this shared experience; teachers at this school work collaboratively and can build on students’ knowledge across the school.
Games are a fun way to explore aspects of our history; they connect us across cultures, we can play games with others even if we speak different languages. James Busby hosted many people in the Treaty House; some of the local rangatira (chiefs) would have visited and sometimes brought along their children. Children being children, Busby’s children and the visiting children would have played together, learning each others’ games. Through games, students easily understand and relate to concepts such as fairness and cooperation.
At the waka area we learnt about the first arrivals to Aotearoa New Zealand and the traditional importance of waka. Hands-on waka drills and chants had students fully engaged as they “paddled” their waka, handling their hoe (paddles) with pride and a sense of unity. We asked who’d like to one day paddle our biggest waka, Ngātokimatawhaorua , on Waitangi Day and there were plenty of keen volunteer kaihoe (paddlers).
Everyone appreciated the rich cultural performance by Te Pitowhenua inside the beautifully carved Te Whare Rūnanga. After the show, groups had a special opportunity to sing Morningside’s school song to mihi (thank) the performers.
“Formatively delivered, educators really listened and responded to the needs of the teachers and students – awesome experience” was some feedback received from teachers. Thank you to all the Morningside teachers for your fantastic efforts in bringing your students and whānau to visit Waitangi; our ed team enjoyed the sessions with each and every class!