For Venus Ihakara, occupying the children for the next two weeks doesn't pose much of a challenge. Instead she's welcoming the opportunity to spend more time with them.

With three children and two grandchildren, Ihakara sees the school holidays as a time to get together as a family.

"It's a good time for us to get together as a whanau. We don't have much time to do that during school. If we get a chance we'll go to the lake and have a whanau picnic, or get together and do some work," Ihakara said.

For Ihakara's older children Makere, 16, and Tetuhi, 15, it will be a case of "do the mahi get the treats" they say. The family lives on Te Waiiti Marae at Lake Rotoiti and the teenagers plan to put in some hard work there.


"We look after our marae so we're there to mow the lawn, clean up inside and get it ready for visitors to come," Tetuhi said.

"It's good for young people to work. We get something out of it too. Knowing you've done something for everybody else, not just yourself."

Makere said she enjoyed getting to know those who visited the marae and helping out there meant she could also spend time with friends after the work was done.

Tetuhi said they also got to know the marae elders and learn skills like cooking, during the holidays.

Ihakara said the holidays were generally a busy time but she was looking forward to them.

"I'm looking forward to having the kids home during the week. They are so busy during term, I see them in the mornings and then after school and sports."