Children learning the importance of Matariki

Fairhaven school kids love learning and signing about the stars of Matariki and will enjoy an Te Kete Matariki’s education day of activities and workshops. Photos: John Borren/SunLive.

Students in Te Puke will carry the handles of a kete, and fill their kete with Matariki knowledge that they will gain from Te Kete Matariki’s education day.

Today, hundreds of children and youth from across the Te Puke community will share in the kaupapapa of Matariki as a part of “Te Kīwai Mauī” education day, facilitated by Te Kahui Ako o Te Puke.

The name “Te Kete Matariki" refers to the kete (or secure basket) of Whakaotirangi, the ancestress who brought kumara over to Aotearoa on the Te Arawa waka.

“Our education day is named after the left handle of that kete.” says coordinator Tatai Takuira-Mita.

Held at Jubilee Park Te Puke from 9.30am-2.30pm, kids of all ages will take part in workshops and activities connected to the Maori New Year ahead of New Zealand’s first official public holiday tomorrow to celebrate the milestone.

There is a lot on too! From raranga (Māori weaving), manu tukutuku (Māori kite making) to maara kai (gardening), Poi making and a range of environmental workshops. Some groups will also be working on a collaborative mural at Te Puke’s memorial pools, commemorating Matariki’s first public holiday says Tatai.

Deepening knowledge

Tatai Takuira-Mita is one of the Deputy Principals at Fairhaven School, and an Across-School Leader in the Te Puke Kahui Ako.

She has been teaching about Matariki for many years, but says she has noticed a shift in recent times.

“There’s definitely been a movement in the last five or six years where it’s [Matariki] become more widely known… every year we dig a little bit deeper and develop our understanding of the old ways and the importance for all of us,” says Tatai.

“The kaupapa of Matariki is important for all kids growing up in New Zealand, to know about this uniquely Aotearoa celebration,” says Tatai.

“I think that it’s very significant if you know about the old ways, the significance of the stars, how they connect to our natural environment; that’s what our kids are learning at school.

“[It] goes down really well with the kids­ – they sing about it, they learn about each star…there’s like a real buzz at the moment,” says Tatai, who adds the teachings around Matariki can be incorporated into all topics.

The following community day– ‘Te Kīwai Katau’ – or the ‘right handle’ of the kete – is taking place on Friday, June 24.

This will be a community day where friends and whanau will celebrate Matariki with culture, music and kai at Jubilee Park, Te Puke, from 10am-4pm.

The Kahui Ako will have a tent set up amongst the festivities where kids can share with their whānau what they learnt at the education day, linking the two days together.

“It’s not just to educate the kids but it’s to educate the whanau, and in doing so our whole community can just become more aware,” says Tatai.
 




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