Sunday, August 6, 2017

Matariki at Manaia

The rising of a star constellation known as Matariki, signals the start of the Māori new year, a time for connecting with and giving thanks to the land, sea and sky. Matariki is a time for community to come together to celebrate the lives of those who have departed and acknowledge the year gone by. For my family this occurs from May till the end of July and many Māori iwi celebrate Matariki at different times. The pre – dawn rising of the cluster Matariki is referred to as “Te Tau Hou’, the New Year. The star cluster was a navigational aid and an indicator of the upcoming seasons. If the stars were clear, it was a sign the year ahead would warm and productive. If it was hazy and closely bunched together, then a cold year would be in store. For some Māori the first new moon after the rise of Matariki signaled the start of the New Year. The moon / marama is central to activities of harvesting kai on the land and at sea. Matariki was a time people would gather to share kai, rituals, entertainment, hospitality and learnings.

Matariki celebrations were popular before the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, and they continued into the 1900’s. Gradually they dwindled with one of the last traditional festivals recorded in the 1940’s.At the beginning of the 21st century Matariki celebrations were revived and have become a special time of the year to respect the land we live on, celebrate the unique place we live in and continue to share and grow with each other.

We asked the children about what they do with their family at Matariki. Here are some of their comments.

Ezra " I eat some hangi, play and look at the stars."

"Nina " I paint stuff for my mum and dad and draw. I always see the stars in the night when we are having dinner."

Sam " We make boxes for houses and look at the stars."

Holly " I watch the stars and the fireworks."

George " We put up our christmas tree, I don't know why, just because mum and dad want too. We have a mid winter christmas."

Audrey " Me and my family do things at my house, I play with mum and dad and my little sister."

Griffin " We just look at the stars."

June " We have a christmas party, I look at the stars out of my window.

"Libby " We look at the stars."

Becky " We remember people in my family who have passed on. We have a big family celebration with food, music, dancing and a big fire outdoors, while we enjoy looking at the night sky."

Jiajia " We have a bomb fire and cook fish eyeballs."

Charlie " Up at the beach batch we look at the stars. Sometimes dad goes out at night with the little boat, sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't. He catches fish and we eat it."

Jackson " Me and my dad and my sister play a catching game. Sometimes we watch the stars."

Gemma " I make glitter stars."

Ella " I make pictures with glitter."

Jaxson " Some nights I watch the stars and the trees. They look like monsters, but they really are not."

This year for Matariki at Manaia we had three main themes which all interlinked. They were taking care of mother earth/ Papatūānuku, making and sharing kai/food, and creating using natural /recycled resources.

At Manaia we support sustainable practices and noticed that a large amount of rubbish was being generated from the children's lunch boxes.This was a timely reminder as a teaching team to continue to revisit areas of learning as new children attend kindergarten.The children collected rubbish from their lunch boxes for about a week and a half. Much discussion went on such as, where does all this rubbish go? What can we do to reduce our rubbish? Can we reuse any of our rubbish? The children came up with some interesting ideas.

Me aro ki te hā o Papatūānuku 
Papatūānuku respecting mother earth

"Put it in the rubbish"

"Make something out of a giant piece of cardboard and stick all the rubbish on it. Put our food in containers"

" We could leave rubbish out of our lunch boxes. We could use the sickie lids for Minon's"

"Put it in a container and then throw it away. We need a big hole to put it in. We could use my cheese snack for a paint pot"

"Decorate with it on paper"

" We should take it home"

" Take it home and recycle it"

" Thats a lot of rubbish"

" That's not alright aye?"

"Put the suckie yoghurts in the collage, as well as the chip packets. You can compost banana skins. They need to tell their Mum and Dad, not to put rubbish in their boxes"

We decided to revisit making bees wax lunch wraps with the children. We were lucky to have some wonderful whānau - Kahu (Daisy's mum) and Rachael (Mila's mum) who came and worked with the children. 

E raka te māui, e raka te katau. A community can use all the skills of it's people.
Daisy and Mila work with Rachael

Daisy, Mabel, Mila and Kayla
Anna creates a bees wax lunch wrap while Jessie waits patiently
Naia creates a bees wax wrap
Rachael and Kahu work with the children

Mabel, Carly, Kayla, Ella and Tilly watch as the bees wax is poured onto the fabric.

The children used their lunch box rubbish to create at the collage and carpentry areas. 
Carly and Mauku talk about te marama as they work alongside each other using chip packets and yoghurt sickie.

Mabel creates a collage masterpiece using recycled chip packets.

Tim creates a Minion at the carpentry table using a recycled yoghurt lid

Preparing, cooking and sharing food from Papatūānuku was a big part of our Matariki celebrations. The children used apples, bananas from our palms and lemons, mandarins and grapefruit. 
The sharing table was a great way to share excess fruit with our kindergarten whānau.

Gemma uses the apple slicer
Mauku concentrates as he makes the slices of apple for drying.
Ruben works hard to create slices of apple
A plateful of dried apple to share
Emily cooks apple fritters with Arlo and the other children
Conor helps make apple sauce
Brock prepares to fill his apple with some yummy mixture
Zeke fills his apple

Our freshly baked apples ready to eat!

Sophie, Audrey and Kayla sample the stuffed baked apples

The children enjoyed a mock fire at mat time and enjoyed a hot banana muffin cooked on our imaginary fire.
Libby, Anna and Daisy role play cooking on a fire.
Provocations provide the children with ideas to provoke their thinking and take on a character, to act out their ideas. 
A provocation of a hangi

George and Mabel catch fish in the net and then cook them on the fire to feed the whānau.

All cultures enjoy the celebration together
The seven kites of Matariki provocation prompted many children to create  manu tukutuku / kite
Ancient Māori kite flying traditions have a highly symbolic connection to Matariki - the two are historically inseparable. kites were seen as connectors between the heaven and earth.

Ella works on the final touches of her kite.
Jiajia is ready to take her kite for a test flight

Poppy prepares to take her kite outside to fly
 The children created the night sky with paints, clay and using ephemeral art in the wooden boxes.
Sophie creates the night sky

Nina is proud of her stars she has used to create her night sky

Naia creates the moon/ te marama
Te marama/the moon

Gemma uses glitter, gold and silver paint to create her night sky

Audrey creates her night sky using stones and feathers

The light table with black sand provides children a fantastic opportunity to create the night sky

Anna's beautiful creation
Jessie enjoys working on the light table

Tyler creates fireworks in his night sky

Tyler's finished painting of the night sky

Hoki whakamuri, kia anga whakamua
Look to the past in order to forge the future

Ka hinga atu he tētēkura - ka ara mai he tētēkura
As one fern frond dies-one is born to take their place.

Posted by Becky

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