Urutakai | Matariki 2023

Teenaa koutou

I wasn't the photographer for our Noho Marae to celebrate Matariki so I hope writing is enough. Our small kura in the heart of Otaki celebrated Matariki beginning with a Noho Marae at Te Marae o Hine, Pukekaraka which is the whenua where our kura also stands.

The build up to the noho was great. We had my class; year 4-7 prepare speeches a first for them all. They chose topics that we have been studying or topics that our kura embraces eg ParaKore, Rongoa Maaori etc. Their topics covered the following:

Matariki (who is each star and what do they represent), Taonga (making), rongoa (pohutukawa, manuka, puriri), recycling (making a Hammer of Thor), our Mangapouri River (our role as kaitiaki). Our junior class, made the 9 stars out of recycled materials and presented a koorero on who they were.

There was alot of waiata (2 were composed around Matariki). Parents took part in helping their tamariki write on paper, words of remembrance to those who passed (some chose to draw pictures) and then they wrote their aspiratons, wishes, goals for the coming year. These were placed in envelopes with their whanau name on. They were to be sent to our tuupuna, to Pohutukawa and Hiwa-i-te-rangi during our morning ceremony. We ended off our evening reading a story of Matariki before lights out.

Friday 30th june at 6am, we rose. We had made individual lanterns (tea lights were placed inside) which we used for the trek up our sacred hill, Pukekaraka. At the top we looked to the North East and the most wonderul part of that morning was that we saw in the distance, very faintly, the Matariki cluster, we also saw shining brightly Puanga and Tautoru. It was the first sighting of Matariki for me and Ive tried every year, for many years to sight it. Miharo! Following our karakia, pao, mihi and waiata (Tirama ana mai nga whetu..) we proceeded down the hill to our fire pit which was already blazing. My senior students had the task to recite an acknowledgement firstly to Pohutukawa then to Hiwa i te rangi. During this, each whanau were given their envelopes from the previous night and they placed it (threw it) into the fire where we watched the flames and sparks rise to our tuupuna. The reciting to Tupuaanuku took place and each student placed a piece of kumara into the fire pit. We recited to Tupuaarangi, Waitii and Waitaa too. Following this our tuupuna received our thoughts as droplets of rain fell on us at a timely fashion. Maringi mai ngaa roimata!! So surreal. Our waiata was a himene katorika (I roto i te tohu ....) appropriate if you know the kupu. Following this we had a breakfast haakari. Namunamua!! So greatful for our kura whaanau.

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi.....!

Ka nui pea aku kupu ki a koutou.

naaku me te mihi nui

naa Urutakai Cooper


Te Kura o Hato Petera Kaniera