Rewana Bread

Here is a great bread popular with Māori.  It is similar to Māori bread but it has a starter made from potato called rewana.  This will be a good cooking and science activity to do with children of all ages.  You will have to make the rewana a few days before actually making the bread.

Rewana Bread

To make rewana:

1 potato peeled and sliced
1 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
Half cup flour

Make the Rewana mixture by boiling the sliced potato in the cup of water (don’t add salt) until it is a soft enough to mash. Leave it until lukewarm. Pour it into a large preserving jar and then add the sugar and flour and stir hard until a smooth paste is formed.
Leave the jar, covered with a clean tea towel, in a warmish place ( the hot water cupboard is ideal) until it is full of bubbles
This will take 1-2 days. Don’t let it get too sour and ‘off’ smelling though.

8 cups of flour white or wholemeal)
Half-1 cup sugar (to taste)
2-3 cups cold water
Salt to taste

Put the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add the rewana mixture. Mix it in well and add enough water to make a smooth dough. (Take a tablespoon off this dough for your next rewana). Knead dough for about 10 minutes on a floured board until it is smooth and firm.
Grease a large loaf tin, a camp oven or a large round cake tin. Place the dough in the baking tin and leave it until it rises half way up the sides.

Bake at 200 C for ten mins.then reduce heat to 150 C and bake for another 60-90 minutes or until shrunken from sides of tin and brown all over.

                  Photo by Stephen Walker ( )

To make a new rewana, take a tablespoon raw dough and put into a clean jar with a teaspoon sugar, some flour and some warm water mixed to a smooth paste. Let it work in a warm place until bubbly and ready to use.


New Zealand A History in Pictures.

‘New Zealand a History in Pictures’ is a must have book for teachers.  This book has pictures by Peter Gossage who is a famous author and artist of children’s books.  The book is 30 pages long and starts from the beginning of the making of the New Zealand islands through the eruptions of volcanoes.  It follows on with the arrival of people to New Zealand including Maori and other cultures.

The book has short simple text and of course great pictures.  The book was published in 1997 so takes us to the time the sky tower was built.

This book is a good reference for teachers as you can do some lesson planning from any of the pages within it.  it covers topics like the treaty of Waitangi and Anzac Day.  It has information about early Maori life in New Zealand and information about the conflicts that happened too.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars.

As it is an old book it is now out of print but try your local library for a copy.  If any subscribed person is interested in buying this book I have a secondhand copy available for $10 plus postage.  Leave a message in comments and I will get back to you.


What is aroha and why is it important to teach children about aroha.

Today I want to talk about the word Aroha.  Aroha has many definitions to it and today I want to explore that and look at why it is important to teach children about aroha for they themselves are aroha too.

Aroha is a very rich word and has many meanings within the Māori world.  So I will create a list of meanings that I can think of.

Aroha  means:

to love

to show empathy

to cry

to be compassionate

to support

to care

to be kind

to show affection

to be peaceful

to nurture

to help

to be respectful

And the list can continue, maybe ask what aroha means to yourself and others and add to the list yourself.

Every day we must teach children aroha,  Why?  Well lets look at that now.

Aroha comes form a feeling within you.  It is a beautiful feeling that makes you feel good about yourself.  Children need to feel good about themselves.  They need to have confidence to go about their day and lives.  They need aroha to support themselves and others through the journey of life. Aroha helps to develop the brain.

An example of aroha.  A child comes to  your centre and cries when their Mum leaves.  You as a teacher will go see the child and comfort him/her and ensure that they feel good and support that child.  This is aroha.  The child is expressing their aroha for their mum through crying and you are expressing aroha through helping the child through this tough time.  Aroha is a two way system a means of communicating with others.

Aroha can be seen through actions words and facial expressions.  A smile is a great way to show aroha.  Laughing and enjoying the company of others expresses aroha.  Crying expresses aroha.

Suggestions for activities re: Aroha.

Why don’t you look at the word aroha with you colleagues, families and the children and see how much the word really means to people in your community.  You could create a giant poster for your wall and add to it daily.

You could ask the children to create pictures of aroha, kindness, how we share etc. and display on the wall.

You can learn songs about aroha in te reo Māori and other languages.  Te Aroha, Love is like a penny, I love you. you are my sunshine, me he manu rere etc.

You can make aroha/friendship bracelets.

There are many books that talk about aroha that you can read and learn more about aroha.  Here are some suggestions:

My Happy Place: A Book of Joy, Aroha and Generosity          Aroha's Way: A children's guide through emotions   Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain

Here are some Maori proverbs about aroha.

E iti noa ana, na te aroha.  A small ordinary thing, begotten by love.  Although the present is small, it is all love has to give.

Aroha mai aroha atu.  Love toward us, love going out from us.

The Raupo Book of Maori ProverbsI got these proverbs from this book ‘The Reed Book of Maori Proverbs’ that you may be interested in getting for yourself.

I hope that you have learnt something about aroha within my post.  Thank you and have a nice day.




The Treaty of Waitangi in early childhood education.

Let’s have a look at The Treaty of Waitangi in early childhood education.  Te Tiriti o Waitangi.  I am going to break this down into several parts as it is a huge topic and I just want to try and simplify it for you as an early childhood teacher.  You would have covered this through your teacher training in more depth treat this as a little revision.

What is the Treaty about?

The Treaty of Waitangi is basically an agreement between Māori Chiefs of  New Zealand in 1840 and the the Crown.  The English agreement was that the Crown could take over the sovereignty of New Zealand and that Māori would keep their lands, fisheries and treasures.  This is not so in the Māori treaty that says Māori did not give up sovereignty.  There was an English written Treaty and a Māori written Treaty. So their is a lot of differences that can be and are argued about today The Treaty is understood differently throughout New Zealand

Why do I need to know about it?

The Treaty of Waitangi is an important part of New Zealand’s history and is the founding document of this country.  It should be understood by New Zealanders and teachers need to know as they have to somehow explain this to future generations.  It is a conversational subject and your perspective is yours but the simplicity of it is that English and Māori have good relations with each other and we understand each others cultures and respect each other.  Ensuring the Maori language and the culture is entwined within your practice  is therefore relevant and you understand that relevance.

How do I implement it in my teaching practice?

How do we teach the treaty to young children?  Respecting both cultures is the most important thing to do.   Incorporating biculturalism into your practice meaning teaching both Māori and English cultures to children.  The languages, histories, ways of living, fashion, etiquette/protocols, values, food, games, etc…

It is not only the Māori culture that you should be concentrating on within your teaching but also the other cultures present within your centre.   Today we have a multicultural society thus these cultures should be present in your curriculum too. All cultures are important and children must learn this.

I know a lot of teachers are worried they have not done enough Māori in their practice but look I can tell you that if you have some knowledge of the Māori values you  will be practicing this every day without even knowing it.  For example do you greet your children and family each day, do you encourage family participation in the centre?  Well this is incoporating a Māori value of whanaungatanga – working together for a shared vision, a sense of family connection, kinship.  I will look at Māori values in future posts.


Here are some good reads that may also assist you.

.Waitangi Day: the New Zealand Story     The Treaty of Waitangi Te Mana O Te Tiriti : The Living Treaty 

  •  This is a journal article written by Orlene D’Cunha published in He Kupu a free online journal.
  •   An article about Tuia 250 published in Te Whāriki online.