Students and whānau at a Rotorua primary school were treated to an extra special way of ushering in the Māori new year.

The Whangamarino School Matariki Festival of Learning was held last Friday to celebrate the occasion.

Grandparents and special friends were invited to spend the day working with their mokopuna (grandchildren) making Māori taonga (treasures) related to matariki.

Waimiria Rowberry and her nan Tepora Ashmore weaving Matariki braclets. Photo / Supplied
Waimiria Rowberry and her nan Tepora Ashmore weaving Matariki braclets. Photo / Supplied

The day started off with a kapa haka performance by the students, followed by a morning tea for the grandparents and special guests.

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After morning tea, guests were invited to work with their mokopuna in classrooms to make manu aute (kite), make rongoā māori (medicine), create stars, do weaving, make poi, paint kōhatu (stones), and making special photo frames.

Rio Taiatini-Taylor and father Kane Taylor making ice block stick 'Matariki Stars' Photo / Supplied
Rio Taiatini-Taylor and father Kane Taylor making ice block stick 'Matariki Stars' Photo / Supplied

At lunchtime everyone sat down to share a hangi lunch prepared by the children.

"It was magical day," principal Lorraine Northey said.

"Seeing our community coming together and watching grandparents working with their mokopuna was fantastic," Northey said.

Maioha Gage (left), Nikau Te Kanawa Thompson, Ngaio Te Kanawa Thompson, Manaaki Gage and their grandparents Donna and Kerry Te Kanawa (rear) drawing designs for their kohatu, Photo / Supplied
Maioha Gage (left), Nikau Te Kanawa Thompson, Ngaio Te Kanawa Thompson, Manaaki Gage and their grandparents Donna and Kerry Te Kanawa (rear) drawing designs for their kohatu, Photo / Supplied

"The workshops went really well and everyone enjoyed themselves. The event was a huge success and the addition of learning added another special element to it."