Aotearoa has celebrated its first national Matariki public holiday.
Marking the Māori New Year is ultimately all about people, acknowledging the past and planning for the future.
What's the connection between Matariki and Sport Whanganui's Healthy Active Learning advisers?
The team supports teachers across the region to deliver quality health and physical education.
Weaving Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) through the teaching practices provides tamariki with fun ways to learn and get active. This term, the team focus for schools is tākaro (play) and getting to know others through play. In te ao Māori, building relationships is known as whakawhānautanga.
The team are weaving the practice of whakawhānautanga with the art of creating manu tukutuku, traditional kites, as combined schools learning sessions.
Kite making is an ancient Māori tradition and manu tukutuku are flown to celebrate the start of the Māori New Year when the cluster of stars, Matariki, appeared in the night sky. Perfect timing to make manu tukutuku and learn the values and traditions of the Māori New Year.
Last week Te Kura o te Kokohuia welcomed the Healthy Learning advisers to spend the day alongside students from Aberfeldy and Mangamahu schools learning how to build manu tukutuku.
Exploring the natural world ignites our kids' imagination and there is so much to learn beyond the fours wall of the classroom. Rosalie Matthews, school principal at Mangamahu School, found the day a rich and meaningful experience.
"Our children were so lucky to be included in this initiative. All the experiences, from the whakatau to collecting materials to making the kites, were so worthwhile. The children co-operated so well and thoroughly enjoyed the day," she says.
The whakatau was a standout for Georgia Doran, a student at Mangamahu School.
"It was great to work with other schools and to learn about whakatau. Some of us were shy when doing hongi."
Te Kura o te Kokohuia's team, from staff to students, not only shared their space, welcoming the schools with a whakatau, they provided the essential manu tukutuku resources.
The tamariki gathered natural resources from the school's nature area (repo), loading arms with nature's bounty and running back to the classroom eager to start creating the kites.
Nannies helped prepare the harakeke and senior Te Kura o Kokohuia's students provided kai to share and celebrate the day's work.
Jody-Anne Takairi, the school principal, shares her thoughts on the day and a valuable whakataukī.
"It was a great connection with our small rural kura, Mangamahu School and Aberfeldy School through sharing and giving these students and teachers insight of Manu tukutuku and making Manu Taratahi. Students were excited, engaged, and happy with their final product. Whakawhanautanga at its best."
Nau te rourou, naku te rourou, ka ora te tangata.
With your kai basket and my food basket the people will thrive.
With the simple resources of harakeke, a less traditional manu tukutuku material, toe toe, string and kōrari, the harakeke flower stalks, the tamariki happily spent hours gathering, planning and creating works of art to be proud of.
Jake Old, from Mangamahu school, learnt a valuable lesson about creativity.
"It was fun collecting the leaves, and even though we used all the same materials all the kites ended up looking a bit different."
Our lives are made richer when we gather and learn from the environment around us. The warm welcome from Te Kura o Kokohuia and the schools who enthusiastically engaged created a space for tamariki to learn through the Healthy Active Learning team's programme.
A huge thanks to everyone who lent a hand to make the day run smoothly, making the visitors welcome. The future of learning is on good hands when we work together: Whakawhānautanga.