‘Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori.
The language is the life force of the mana Māori.’ Sir James Henare, 1985.
Matariki signals the dawn of the Maori New Year and this year begins 20 June and ends on the 19th of July. Matariki is a time for reflection and where we are up to on our learning journey. Matariki is about whanaungatanga and the chance for our school community to come together to plan, collaborate and celebrate this important event. Matariki is a time to retell stories and to revisit traditional games and crafts. Matariki is a time to set new goals and make new connections. Matariki is a time to focus on Te Reo and the upcoming Maori Language week that begins on the 29th of June. I can tell Matariki is close in season when our school centenary tree loses its leaves. I see Tui making a regular appearance around school. They come for the black whauwhaupaku berries and for the the ripe Puriri fruit. At our school the rainbow is a regular sight and we get the torrential rains just like when it rains in Samoa. Often the mornings are misty and our grounds become soggy so we have to look for alternative lunchtime activities for the children. Our school gardens are in the last stages of harvest and the gardening club plan for the next cycle of planting. The children are usually excited because it is also at this time that they prepare for our annual Matariki disco.
Sometimes events can suddenly happen to make you sit up and take notice.
Friday was no exception. We had an interesting day as a flow of speakers came through our school as part of early Matariki celebrations.
While the school was at assembly the first groups arrived and were greeted by our principal and deputy principal in a whakatau because our speakers and workshop presenters were immediate and extended family members of our school and local community.
Eilleen our deputy principal and of Te Rarawa descent organised the day as part of the Te Whanau Kotahitanga Maori enrichment programme and we were given a shared doc to choose activities that we could take some of our children to. Two relievers were brought in to tag teachers in and out of class so that they could take part and they could take some children from their class to attend the planned sessions.
During this same time our senior school had their Friday Discovery day where several children were part of the planned Masterchef cook off and today was their semifinals. At lunch time I had my usual Travelwise lunchtime group meeting where I had aimed to complete work for an upcoming global sharing celebration that my group are involved in as part of the ‘Week in the Life Project.’ We have worked towards this event for nearly two terms as part of preparation for an experience for learning student project I have planned to launch in terms 3 & 4.
The challenge I had is that several of my Travelwise children were involved in all three events. Sometimes events like this can throw all planning out the window. So after speaking with the children in the morning I readjusted on the day and worked with only one Travelwise student instead of my ten to get a model up for the rest of my group. Over the next week I will find time to support the others as they complete their part to share with our global audience via skype over the next few week.
As I worked with my usual English Language groups to complete work the computer system played up. I wanted to complete a piece of digital art with a few children but did not finish this. In between children I attended a few sections of the Matariki activities. I attended three activities in the middle block. In the afternoon, I had agreed to share my journey about receiving my malu and missed seeing the other Matariki activities then too. I made sure that I finished a little earlier so that guests who had come to hear me would be back in time for the whaikōrero with Eilleen.
Our Maori students and teacher need acknowledgement of who they are and under the Treaty of Waitangi, they have the right to come together to celebrate their uniqueness with role models and senior members of their community. Friday was no exception because at our school we had a range of powerful role models join us for the day to mentor, guide and share their gifts with some of our students. On Friday our Maori teacher and students took charge of the day. They had their voices heard and had the opportunity to influence others.
So on reflection Matariki is about whanaungatanga and the chance for the whole school to come together to plan, collaborate and celebrate this important event on the Maori calendar. We have focussed on whanaungatanga in the past with great success as can be seen shared on our school Matariki wiki. I also believe that an event like this allows us to reflect where we are up to on our commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi.
To find out more about Matariki, visit our digital story on Issuu .
To find out about whanaungatanga visit our Matariki Wiki.
To find out about Maori enrichment at Newmarket School, visit Te Whanau Kotahitanga’s blog.
To read more about the Treaty of Waitangi visit ‘Waitangi Tribunal claim’, URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/culture/maori-language-week/waitangi-tribunal-claim, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 8-Jul-2014