It was a day of celebration and creation with whānau at Whangamarino School recently.
The Whangamarino School Matariki Festival of Learning was held last Thursday to celebrate the Māori New Year and announce to the community its new designated character status.
Kuia, kaumatua and special friends were invited to spend the day working with their mokopuna making taonga Matariki.
The day started with an awesome kapa haka performance by the students.
Glenda Gates, the school's Board of Trustees chairwoman spoke to the whānau about what the school's new designated character status meant for it.
The day continued with a ceremony, which included board of trustees member Carol Haimona cutting the celebration cake with the oldest student Evah Graham and the youngest student Violet Wallis.
Guests then worked with their mokopuna and made Manu Tukutuku, Māori Stars, weaving, watched a video the tamariki had made, played games from the past, and participated in other Matariki activities.
At lunchtime everyone sat down to share a hangi meal together which was prepared by the tamariki.
Principal Lorraine Northey says: "We enjoyed seeing our community come together once again for our Matariki Festival of Learning.
"Our kuia special guests worked with our tamariki making beautiful Matariki treasures. The workshops were a huge success and everyone enjoyed themselves.
"The event was a lovely experience, and the addition of learning added another special element to it."
Lorraine says announcing the school's new designated character status to its community was also a special moment.
"It has been a long journey but we have now finally realised this dream.
"Whangamarino School will continue to ensure that Ngati Pikiao tamariki are given the opportunity to be educated in the context of their culture and heritage.
"The designated character status ensures future successful participation of Ngati Pikiao and all other students who wish to attend Whangamarino.
"We look forward to future developments and consultation with all stakeholders. A big mihi to everyone who supported this kaupapa for our kura."