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Learning through ngā taonga tākaro

September 21, 2023

Header Image: Tī rākau (stick games) – used in many different games to gain strength and flexibility and as a method of training e.g. for fighting in battles or paddling a waka

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.

Inside a tama taiki (children’s basket) woven from supplejack vine; this traditional play equipment was often suspended from trees and lined with soft plants such as raupo (bullrush)
This ‘tug-of-war’ game involves balance, flexibility and an element of surprise – the aim being to get your opponent to move their feet

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).

Land ahoy! Foundation class students imagine Kupe the great explorer arriving in Aotearoa – land of the long white cloud

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!

Read about the history of ngā taonga tākaro and learn how to play some traditional Māori games