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Nau Mai Haere mai. Welcome to Mairtown Kindergarten's blog.

21 Princes Street, Kensington, Whangarei, New Zealand

Phone: 09 437 2742

Email: mairtown@nka.org.nz

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Mairtown's Matariki Festivities

The month of June has been busy at Mairtown Kindergarten.  Although it is the start of our winter, which has been wet, cold and dark, luckily this didn’t dampen any of our very special month long Matariki festivities.

I love Matariki (Māori New Year) it is a special time of year that I know the teaching team enjoys planning for, and our tamariki enjoy participating in what has become an important period of reflection and sharing at kindergarten. 

On the 1st of June we started celebrations with our delicious Matariki breakfast, this 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.  Early in the morning the teaching team arrive to prepare an appetising 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.

Every day we had been counting down to our breakfast by crossing off a square on our calendar.  It is at these times that we discussed the breakfast with the tamariki who helped to choose and create our magnificent menu.  It certainly was an awesome way to start the day with healthy kai including, smoothies, eggs, sausages, baked beans, a selection of cereals, muesli, yogurt, fruit salad and toast, all served with milo, coffee or tea.

Matariki celebrates the diversity of life.  It’s a celebration of culture, language, spirit and people.

We continued our Matariki celebrations with our annual ‘Harvest Day’ which was held on the 14th of June. This is such a lovely day of sharing any abundant 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)

In Northland we are privileged to have fairly mild winter weather where our land and climate produce plenty of citrus fruit and other produce.  During Matariki it’s a time that we acknowledge what we have and what we have to give.  That’s the great thing about Harvest day, it is an opportunity to share our abundance with others and exchange for something else.  This is the focus of Mairtown’s Harvest Day; sharing, 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 Wednesday morning kindergarten was full of excitement as our children brought in their offerings and placed 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 which warmed our hearts and made the exchange even more meaningful.

As our tamariki prepared to leave for the day they 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 every year 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 ‘This little light of mine’.  So it would be fair to say it is 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 a lovely time to make connections with new friends and reconnect with old friends.  It was great to hear what our tamariki loved about the evening, here are some of their thoughts;
Gracie:  I liked cutting up the fruit and vegetables for the hangi.
Basuru:  The candles because it helped me to see clear in the dark.
Raina:  I loved walking with the lanterns.
Arlo:  The hangi there was lots of things to pick.
Imogen:  Singing the song let it shine.

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 the Andrews whānau for the kind sponsorship of their fantastic Multi Kai cooker, it is certainly the star of the evening, producing such a delicious hangi.  Thank you our evening wouldn’t be possible without your support. 

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.

Thank you to Christine who has exceptional skills in creating a wonderful video of this year’s hangi and evening celebrations.  See below or click here to view.

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. 
He wā motuhake
A special moment

Ngā mihi nui, Susie

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