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Matariki Celebrations

Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2022

More news for Pre-school

Pre-school student sits at table making Matariki crafts with four Preparatory students.

Pre-school student, Alissa, with Sophie Bennett (Year 1), Austin Paterson (Year 8), Pippa Bailey and Ruby Holley-Hill (both Year 3).

Teachers and children in the Junior Department and Pre-school were buzzing with excitement during a special Matariki celebration on Thursday 23 June, says Head of Junior Department, Heather Orman. “After so many restrictions placed on our community and connections over the last couple of years, it was really special to get together with the Pre-school to enjoy this celebration together.”

The morning started for the group with a karakia and waiata in the Learning Hallway. “The Pre-school children sang two beautiful waiata and our children sang back to them. It was really heart-warming and a great example of why Matariki is so important after the last few years of limited contact.”

The morning started for the group with a karakia and waiata in the Learning Hallway. “The Pre-school children sang two beautiful waiata and our children sang back to them. It was really heart-warming and a great example of why Matariki is so important after the last few years of limited contact.”

Heather says the occasion provided a great opportunity to introduce new Head of Pre-school, Mandy Jenkins, to the Junior Department. “We also invited teacher Julia Evans and her Year 8 class to help supervise the morning’s creative activities. These were set up in seven classrooms, with each sharing a special aspect of Matariki. The children were able to take part in as many of the activities as they liked, from making stars, kites, lanterns, and mobiles, to posters featuring the Matariki stars in a night sky. There was even a Matariki fortune teller.”

Preparatory students, Jessie and Vita, stand together holding their Matariki star crafts they have made.

Jessie Li and Vita Liu-Pask (both Year 2).

The connections fostered between children from Pre-school to Year 8 was a special part of the day, she says. “Our key competencies were flourishing in each room as the students talked, shared their thinking, and spent time together. The Year 8 students were so kind and caring, and some of the conversations were just delightful.”

Following the creative activities, the group reassembled in the Learning Hallway for a Matariki story, and karakia, led by Te Reo Māori and Aotearoa New Zealand Histories Curriculum Lead Teacher in the Preparatory School, Mary Leota. Mary says it is important that young children have time to celebrate Matariki and explore the meaning behind it. “The concepts of Matariki and the importance of our unique culture are being fully embraced by schools and now by the wider community with a national public holiday. Sharing stories, enjoying time with people within our school community, and making strong connections are important concepts of Matariki and were clearly visible within the Junior Department celebration.”

Heather says it was a wonderful celebration of Matariki, and the Junior Department and Pre-school are already looking forward to next year, when hopefully parents will be able to join in too.

Teachers and children share excitement as they celebrate the first officially recognised celebration of Matariki as a public holiday.

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