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Māori taonga in early childhood settings.

I realised today after a conversation that what I see as everyday play items in an early childhood setting may be new or undiscovered by others. Or that they are items that are brought out on special occasions. These everyday play items are Māori taonga or cultural artifacts.

What do you have in your early childhood setting?

These are the ones I see as everyday items and at the same time taonga which is a contradiction. If something is everyday they are often not thought of as ‘special’ and if it is a taonga then it is not for everyday use. I want to challenge this notion.

Taonga are culturally valuable resources, objects, phenomena, ideas and techniques .

These are taonga that I would have thought before my discussion I would see in early childhood settings everyday and available for everyday play and engagement.

rākau or short sticks (tī tī torea).

There are usually wooden ones or ones made with magazines. I prefer the wooden ones as they make a noise to help keep in time. Traditionally they were used to develop wrist/arm/shoulder flexibility. They are kept in kept in a waikawa (basket), as are the poi.