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Matariki art, adaptations and greater depth.

Updated: May 26, 2023

The focus this year has been on the process and not the product, the conversations and understanding.

Whāia te mātauranga kia mārama - seek knowledge for understanding.

This year I have spent more time reading and gaining a better understanding of Te whānau Matariki. Why? Because this is my commitment as a teacher and a life long learner. My commitment goes beyond an 'obligation' to a bi-cultural partnership as a Pakeha. Each year I strive to learn more and turn that learning into hands on meaningful art, play and learning opportunities. I start with what has worked in the past and develop ideas to move forward.

In past years I have used calendars as mats for playdough and clay but this year I wanted to do something else and when I found a calendar I knew what I wanted to do but did not want it to be about the product.

I had seen another teacher create the seven sisters based on the book the seven kites of Matariki and the painted masks where stunning but very much about the product. After some though I cam up with chalk paint and had used it with peg dolls.

From this invitation I thought about the image in the book by Rangi Matamua. - Matariki: Te Whetū Tapu o te Tau and decided that the masks could be used to create the stars.

I used Te Wānanga o Aotearoa resource to guide me and discuss the stars and their significance with the children. The resource shares the significance of each star and the knowledge you need to support you own and children's understanding.

From this resource I adapted it to another idea I had seen with the making of eggs with baby animals inside. Instead I put the symbols from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and created magic whetū. You could also get the children to draw on a star and this could be used instead.

I simply placed the images from the website into a star, the star was inserted from shapes in WORD. Then I copy and pasted blank ones in exactly the same position and glued the blank one on top of the picture star. It is important that the paper is 120gms or thicker otherwise you see the image on the back. Then you cut the whetū out and it is ready for the magic. You shine a torch or light from the back and like magic you see the image. They could also work on the light table.

These align with the ‘magic’ of the time and all that it holds from what I read and feel when it comes to Matariki. I am now looking for a whakapapa narrative to use these with.

I also used the image from Rangi Matamua. Book - Matariki: Te Whetū Tapu o te Tau as an invitation to play. Simple and yet open for play and conversation.

I have loved the organic nature of the activities that have happened in the lead up to and over Matariki this year and how images have stimulated so many ideas and those ideas conversations and a deeper understanding.

You may want to read all about the 7 or 9 stars of Matariki in another blog.

Until next time.


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