Updated: Jun 3
This year I will celebrate Matariki knowing that it will be acknowledged and commemorated for the first time with a public holiday for ALL to celebrate it.
This is the 12th public holiday for Aotearoa and it is unique as it will align with the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar) and will always be on a Friday. It also heralds a shift and acknowledgement of Te Ao Māori, our bi-cultural relationship and Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations. If you have been celebrating Matariki in early childhood for years as I have you will know that this is significant on so many levels. The public holiday will raise awareness (we can be the Kaitiakitanga) and see more resources and participation.
The Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Bill sees a day set aside and is guided by the whakataukī 'Matariki hunga nui' (Matariki brings us together).
It brings us together to look to the past, present and future. These are the three main principles underpinning Matariki celebrations:
Remembrance: honouring those who have passed on, since the last rising of Matariki;
Celebrating the present: gathering together with family and friends; and
Looking to the future: looking forward to the promise of a new year.
Over the years the resources for Matariki have grown and I believe after the public holiday this year there will be an explosion of them. We need to be careful in this time and with what we buy as I would be sad if it becomes a commercialised holiday. For me this means checking who made or created the resource and their affiliations.
This brings me to the top two resources I have seen this year (the third has delays due to COVID but will add it when it arrives). The first is 9 wooden whetū created by Isobel Te Aho-White (Kai Tahu and Ngāti Kahungungu ke te Wairoa.
Each star has a beautiful image to represent it and how it connects to Te Ao Māori. I created a magnet board sky to hang them from and have been using them in small world play on tables and in a suitcase.
The second NEW resource is the book Matariki from Reo Pepi Kai tahu cousins that has beautiful illustrations highlighting each star and also their significance. We have been using it to sing a waiata with them and sometimes adding the wooden whetū.
I am hoping the third resource arrives soon, it is a kete of 6 books. There are 3 stories in English and te reo Māori. I will update the blog once I have it.
As I have in the past, I created a NEW resource to use for Matariki and beyond. This year it is for Rata and the waka and I chose it as it connects to Matariki as it explores our connectedness to the environment - to our forests – and Kaitiakitanga.
Kaitiakitanga is more than a word (as are many in te reo Maaori) it is a way of being and doing. In order to understand the word or its meaning (rather than give a simplistic English translation) I have been taught to break down parts of the word in te reo Māori:
Tiaki- protect, guard , nurture, care, conserve and save
Kai- the people, agents who do the actions. Custodians and caregivers. Prefix added to verbs which express some kind of action to form nouns denoting a human agent
Kaitiakitanga- practical doing, what happens, what is being enhanced and guardianship.
It is physical, emotional and spiritual connectedness to people, places, things both past, present and future.
In this pūrākau Rata wishes to be a great leader and wants to make a waka for his iwi but. You can use a book but I prefer to tell this orally with the resources in the e-pattern. Oral storytelling is how indigenous cultures pass down how to navigate life, the sea and is a traditional way of teaching and learning.
Oral storytelling allows you a chance to connect on a deeper level with children. The children focus on you and not a book making oral storytelling more intimate and embracing. For children repetition is important in oral storytelling and in the oral story I have provided in the e-pattern you will see repeated sentences and actions. I also use story stones for the children to have a hands-on experience with the native birds and insects as the story is told.
For many it has been a while since we have been able to gather and celebrate Matariki due to COVID which adds an extra special significance to this years celebrations.
Mānawatia a Matariki
(from Professor Rangi Mātāmua and Hēmi Kelly - meaning to honour, acknowledge, and welcome in Matariki).
P.S. there are affliate links in this blog and if you use them i may get some money to keep blogging