Last week our new teacher Rochelle began at Manaia Kindergarten. We held a Whakatau to welcome her. A Whakatau (informal powhari) is a special Maori welcome for a new person in a community. Our tangata whenua, along with our community, felt that this was a fitting process for the welcoming of our long awaited new teacher. It was wonderful to have our tangata whenua support our community in this process as we learnt about the protocols and practices of Maori alongside them. Danny, a Dad in our community, was our Kiakorero (speaker), and Arvay from the Kindergarten association and related to the tangata whenua of this area, was our Kaikaranga (caller). She called our visitors, Rochelle and her Kindergarten - the people of Te Timatatanga o te Matauranga (kindergarten) into the School Hall. Danny spoke on behalf of our community and we all sung a waiata to support him. The kaikorero from Te Timatatanga o Te Matauranga also spoke and they too sung a waiata. We were priviledged to have the kindergarten association's general manager, Richard, and our senior teacher, Barbara supporting this special event.
It was a great time for our two kindergartens to get to know eachother, for the children and families to learn more about Rochelle before she began her work with us, and for Rochelle's old Kindergarten to know where Rochelle was going to work, and to farewell her.
Because this was a sacred event photos were not taken. However below is a short movie about our time as two kindergartens together, and Rochelle's first week at Manaia Kindergarten.
Rochelle has settled into our Kindergarten with the full support of the children and the community and we all look forward to getting to know Rochelle better and for her contributions to our learning and development.