Te Matatini – Kath Curran
This past month has delivered a rich menu of culture and heritage festivals and for our youngest members of our community these events provide fabulous nourishment for their already curious, creative and adventurous minds.
As Te Matatini is a festival held bi-annually and hosted by different iwi throughout Aotearoa, it isn’t likely a child will experience this event in their hometown more than once during their childhood years.
So when Hawkes Bay became hosts to over 2800 performers, 47 kapa haka groups from around New Zealand and even some from as far afield as Australia, our Sunny Days Centre’s tamariki were definitely keen to go.
I asked Kirsty Hodson-Hussey to describe the experience for the teachers and children.
The pōwhiri was held at McLean Park, Napier on Thursday and three kāiako from our local Sunny Days early childhood education centre accompanied nine tamariki to experience and embrace this cultural event. With the centre having recently established its own kapa haka group with the tamariki, the Te Matatini festival proved to be a perfect opportunity to support, engage and assist the tamariki with on-going learning. The tamariki got to view and embrace the Māori culture.
The kāiako at the Sunny Days centre build responsive and trusting relationships with parents/whanau enabling them to share their dreams and aspiration for their tamariki with kāiako. Examples of these have included wanting their tamariki to “do kapa haka” “learn about her culture and other cultures too” and “be confident in all they do”. These aspirations are then embedded into our group and individual planning. Excursions to such events as Te Matatini enable the wider world of family/whānau and community to become part of our Early Childhood curriculum and for the tamariki to gather knowledge of our culture and that of others around us.
The young enthusiasts from Sunny Days enjoy performing their kapa haka for their peers, at centre events and for manuhiri. With the tamariki in awe of the kākahu the performers wore we are now on the lookout for kākahu of our own while also learning new waiata from our rohe. Who knows, maybe in years to come our tamariki may perform at future Te Matatini festivals.