Mānawa maiea te putanga o Matariki
Mānawa maiea te ariki o te rangi
Mānawa maiea te mātahi o te tau
Hail the rise of Matariki
Hail the lord of the sky
Hail the New Year
(This section of karakia was given by Pou Temara, 2013 for use by Dr Rangi Matamua in his book ‘Matariki – The Star of The Year')
Matariki is a very special time in Aotearoa New Zealand as we celebrate the Māori New Year, based on traditional beliefs and practices. "Matariki has been extensively revitalised in the past three decades and it's growth will continue as this celebration becomes repurposed and reapplied for a new generation" (Matamua, 2017).
At Mairtown Kindergarten we have Matariki celebrations and rituals which are very much a part of our Kindergarten culture, well-embedded and much anticipated.
This year we were able to begin our month of Matariki celebrations by attending a bi-lingual glow in the dark puppet show incorporating some of the traditional Māori knowledge of Matariki. This show was produced by Little Green Man Productions and was called “Heaven and Earth”.
Of course, being at our local theatre, this meant a bus trip! For some children this was their first experience of being on a bus. Some children shared their knowledge and we talked about the things that we might see on our way into town. We were able to see petrol stations, schools where our siblings attend and sports fields where some of our children play on during the weekends. We also sang a song “Hoea te Waka” as we made our way down to the show.
The show itself was spectacular! With over 40 very intricate puppets, lit by UV lighting, it was an amazing sensory experience for us all.
It told the story of seven whetū as they prepared for the upcoming Matariki celebrations. Of course it involved many adventures along the way with an unplanned visit to the moana, and some help from a friendly Taniwha.
Some of our children have shared their thoughts after watching the show …
Amelia C: I like the stars being funny
Florence: I like the puppets – they were singing!
Matthew: I like the seahorse
Gus: I like driving in the bus!
Taikura: We lost the whetū in the moana eh? Then I see the Taniwha – he was friendly
Lucian: I love a snake show
Scarlett: I love the stars. I love them going singing
Mana: I love the big star and the little stars
Grace: I did help blow the star up
Rob (Grace’s Dad): I liked the jelly-fish and the kiwi that sounded like a cow
Max: I liked the bus ride. I sat at the back with Zair and I could see the petrol station
Being able to experience Māori culture and language through story-telling and drama is important to all children as our New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum Te Whāriki states that “learner identity is enhanced when children’s home languages and cultures are valued in educational settings and when kaiako are responsive to their cultural ways of knowing and being” (Ministry of Education, 2017).
To learn more about the meaning and stories behind Matariki I would highly recommend this video put together by Spark and this presentation by Dr Rangi Matamua. Dr Matamua states that "the next stage in the evolution of Matariki must be in securing its future, nurturing its growth and maintaining its integrity" (2017).
We have now started eagerly counting down to our Harvest Day and our Matariki Hangi, which are our other upcoming events in our Matariki celebrations.
Ana, i te atapō tonu ka rewa ake a Matariki ka
kitea mai, ā koirā te tohu o te tau hou
Therefore, in the early morning when Matariki is seen rising,
this is the sign of the new year
Ngā mihi o te tau hou Māori!