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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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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Matariki Harvest Day - The gift of sharing with others

On Wednesday the 20th June our kindergarten was full of a joyful buzz as we hosted our annual Matariki Harvest Day. This is a highly anticipated day for the children, their whānau and the teaching team. 

For Harvest Day our whānau were invited to bring a gift from their garden or a home-made treat along with a provocation or thought to nourish the receivers heart.

Our Harvest Day is all about 'random acts of kindness'. The gifts were placed on our harvest table and at the end of the day children and their whānau were able take something home.

This is a Matariki celebration tradition that has been happening at Mairtown for many years now. We often get asked about how the Harvest Day event sits within recognising Matariki. One part of this special time of year in Aotearoa revolves around the gathering of food - and this is often when the Matariki stars reappear in the sky (May/June) - once harvesting is complete and the store rooms are full of kai.  

Kiwifamilies.co.nz (2018) acknowledge that,  

"The disappearance of Matariki {the star cluster} in Autumn, signals the time to gather and preserve crops. The Matariki disappear from view in April, and reappear again in late May/early June. So this was an important marker in the harvest calendar.

After the harvesting of traditional crops, such as kumara, pikopiko and karaka berries, when the storehouses were full, Maori would celebrate the harvest season. This celebration coincided with the reappearance of Matariki."

We had such a lovely response and it was evident that lots of joy and love was shared, given and received throughout this day. On this day I heard both children and adults talking about how this is such a lovely day and that the act of giving to others was such a lovely practice. 

One of the children shared with me, "You know I brought this (points to a bag on the table) and I think that someone else will like to take that home and share it with their Mum and Dad and family. I would like to take somethings home to share at my house. That will make everyone SO happy. This is a happy table!"

The act of giving is a wonderful trait to celebrate and acknowledge. We love that at Mairtown Kindergarten we are creating a culture of sharing and giving to others. Although this is an event that happens once a year at kindergarten, it is something that we like to practise on a day to day basis.

“The act of giving expands one’s entire life experiences because nothing is more fulfilling than one’s capacity to give.”(P. Rashad)

Giving to others, without expecting anything in return is something that we (as adults) should all role model to children. No matter how small an act of kindness is, it has a huge impact on how someone may feel. I think that it is important that we all role model kindness and giving to others and our Harvest Day is just one way we can do this.  

Being able to take something home at the end of the day to share is also a wonderful experience for the children. Many of them spent time during the day checking out what was on offer. The table was full of delicious kai and all of it needed to be shared out amongst the kindergarten whā​nau.

Matariki is such a special time of year and I am so happy that all our kindergarten families and their children embrace it with such enthusiasm. At Mairtown we love to celebrate Matariki  because it is unique to our country and culture. During Matariki we get to celebrate our unique place in the world. We get to give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth Papatūānuku. Matariki for us signals growth. It’s a time of change. It’s a time to prepare, and a time of action. During Matariki we acknowledge what we have and what we have to give. Matariki celebrates the diversity of life. It’s a celebration of culture, language, spirit and people.

"The more children are treated with deep care, the more they will treat others with care and kindness. Love and care and kindness; this is spiritual practice." (Kimberly Crisp)

Thank you to everyone who made our Matariki Harvest Day so special. We really appreciate your support and participation.

Hei konā mai,


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