Over the past month we have been busy at Mairtown Kindergarten celebrating Matariki (Māori New Year) with three significant events. Matariki is a special time of year that the teaching team enjoys planning for and our tamariki enjoy participating in what has become an important period of reflection and sharing at kindergarten.
Each year we start our tradition with our delicious Matariki breakfast. Our Matariki breakfast is greatly anticipated and a real highlight, it is wonderful to see our tamariki who have previously experienced our breakfast share their experiences with our new tamariki. Fortunately for us Donna has been back this term, as she has exceptional skills in the kitchen and always prepares a delicious selection of kai to share with our whānau and tamariki.
Matariki symbolises the coming of the Māori New Year. Matariki has two meanings, both of which refer to the cluster of stars. Mata Riki means Tiny Eyes, and Mata Ariki means Eyes of God. Matariki appears in the eastern sky sometime around the shortest day of the year, and is thought to determine how successful the harvest crop will be in the coming season. The brighter the stars, the more productive the crop will be.
There has been the usual build up to the breakfast with the tamariki helping to choose and create our magnificent menu. It certainly was an awesome way to start the day with healthy kai including, eggs, sausages, spaghetti, baked beans, selection of cereals, muesli, yogurt, fruit salad, toast, all served with milo, coffee or tea.
Matariki celebrates the diversity of life. It’s a celebration of culture, language, spirit and people.
On June the 21st we continued our Matariki celebrations with our ‘Harvest Day’. This is such a lovely day of sharing any abundance produce, preserves, pickles or home baking with others. For Māori in years gone by Matariki symbolises the time for planting and harvesting. The Matariki star constellation marked a time for starting all things new, this was a particularly important period for new crops to be planted and the preserving of old crops to be finished. The timing of Matariki fell at the end of a harvest and food stores were full. Meat, fruits, herbs and vegetables had been gathered and preserved and the migration of certain fish ensured a great period of feasts. Matariki was seen as a time to share with each other, for family and friends to come together and share in the gifts that the land and sea had provided for them. (Tai Tokerau Tourism)
We are so fortunate to live in Northland where there are plenty of citrus trees, and other produce. That’s the great thing about Harvest day, it is an opportunity to share abundance with others and exchange for something else. The focus of Mairtown’s Harvest Day is about sharing our abundance, random acts of kindness and nurturing the body and soul of our community.
Our tamariki and whānau were invited to bring an item to share from their garden or pantry. On Tuesday morning kindergarten was full of excitement as our children brought in their offerings and place them on the exchange table. The gifts included citrus, avocados, plants, honey, kumara, pumpkin, eggs, home baking, pickles, jams, herbs, and vegetables. Some had lovely messages attached, including;
‘Plant the seed of desire in the field of imagination to grow the harvest of invention’
‘You do not have to be rich to be generous’
‘Sometimes’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart’
At the end of session our tamariki were invited to choose something from the harvest table to take home. It was so lovely to see them excited and full of eagerness as some had been looking at the offerings throughout the day and had clearly made a decision of what they wanted to take home and for others the choice was a little tricky.
Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi
With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive
Our celebrations always finish with our annual hangi and lantern parade. As this is the last event of our Matariki celebrations we spend the month counting down to it and practising our lantern parade song. So it would be fair to say it is also a highly anticipated and well attended event.
The wonderful thing about our Matariki hangi and lantern parade is that it is enjoyed by many including our current attending families and those who have left. It is lovely to catch up with old friends and make new.
It is truly a time that our kindergarten community comes together to share energy, time and support to help with the preparations. The evening’s success is due to the wonderful whānau support we receive to help with many jobs including, lanterns to be made, and food to prepare and cook. Also a special thank you to JK Siteworks and Pro-dig for the very generous donation of the meat for the hangi, to the Andrews for the kind sponsorship of their fantastic Multi Kai cooker and to Barfoote Construction for the fantastic lighting. Thank you all very much.
Ma tini, ma mano, ka rapa te whai
By many, by thousands, the work will be accomplished.
Many hands make light work. Unity is strength.
Fortunately for us Christine has exceptional skills in creating a wonderful video of this year’s hang and evening celebrations. Watch it below.
The lovely music on the video is titled ‘Whiti Te Marama’, here is the link to view the entire link.
On behalf of the teaching team I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported, helped, participated and shared in all of our Matariki festivities over the past month. We hope you all have a lovely term break with your families and we look forward to seeing you all on Monday 25 July 2016 ready for the start of term three.
He wā motuhake
A special moment
Ngā mihi nui, Susie