Let’s make a terrarium – rāihi kōataata.

Happy New Year Whanau and friends!  I hope that everyone is enjoying their Christmas holidays.  If you have children at home I have a great idea for an activity.   Today I am going to show you how to make a rāihi kōataata- a terririum.  This could even be made for a christmas gift for someone.

Making a rāihi kōataata/terrarium.

Step 1.

Find an empty glass container.  You can pick a glass container up from the warehouse or  second hand shops.

Step 2.

Fill the bottom of the terrarium with pebbles.

this provides drainage.


Step 3.

Sprinkle over activated charcoal on top of pebbles about a tablespoon or two full.  I got my activated charcaol from King’s Plant Barn.  This ensures that the terrarium does not smell especially if it is closed with a lid.

Step 4.

Add potting mix.  Enough to cover the pebbles and deep enough for plants to root in.

Step 5.

Add plants that can fit into the terrarium.  I found succulents, cacti and water loving ferns good  plants to start with.

Step 6.

Add pebbles or shells or tiny ornaments to the top of the terrarium.  You can place a lid on top which will help the terrarium produce its own moisture.

Step 7.

Spray plants with  water try not to over water.  Keep out of direct sunlight.  Enjoy or give away for a gift.







Taonga for children.

What is a taonga? A taonga is a treasure or a gift.  It is natural.  The sea is a taonga, the land is a taonga, my moko-grandson is a taonga.  A taonga has a significant meaning to it, it may be cultural, it may link to your whanau. It may be something you can wear, it may be an object, it may be a person.   A taonga may be given as a gift to you from another person or group of people.  There are lots of other taonga too.

Today I want to talk about the greenstone I was given.  I worked for many years at an early childhood centre and as a leaving gift they gave me a pounamu-greenstone pendant.  These are now my taonga.  They remind me of the centre and all the wonderful children, families and teachers that I met in my time there.  There are four etchings on my taonga and I decided that each of these linked to my three daughters and my moko -grandson.  I treasure my taonga and I feel good when I wear it.

These are good for children to wear and last a very long time if looked after.  They are a beautiful gift that you will treasure for life.  I know I will.  I’ve looked for taonga for children whilst in my teaching journey to gift to children.  I have attached a link where you can go to to source out taonga for children and adults.  The place is called The Bone Art Place.

Please Note:  Children and infants should not wear pendants or carvings to bed.  The cords that are attached are strong and may cause harm if they tangle in bed clothing.  It is also advised that children where the adjustable strings. 

Ask to change to an adjustable string when you buy a taonga for chiidren.  The chunky  stones or carvings are more suitable for children as they do not break like the more delicate ones.

I hope this was useful for you. Do you have a  taonga story and want to share it?  Please leave in the comments box.

Kia pai to ra


Teaching children how to speak te reo Māori.

keaToday I will be looking at teaching children how to speak Māori.    Pronouncing or saying the words correctly is the first step to speaking Māori.   Te reo Māori means the Māori language.


The Māori alphabet.

a    e    h    i    k    m    n    ng    o    p    r    t    u    w    wh    are the letters of the Māori alphabet.

The Māori vowels are said as below:

  • a as in baa
  • e as in pear
  • i as e in eagle
  • o as in oar
  • u as in you

There is a simple way to learn the Māori alphabet.  Teaching children to speak Māori is fun and you can sing the Māori alphabet.  You will find the tune to this song on YouTube.

A ha ka ma na pa ra ta wa nga wha

E he ke me ne pe re te we nge whe

I hi ki mi ni pi ri ti wi ngi whi

O ho ko mo no po ro to wo ngo who

a e i o u

U hu ku mu nu pu ru tu wu ngu whu

So try saying the Māori alphabet and repeat several times.  Get the children to say it several times and learn it off by heart.  If you can pronounce the sounds first then you are ready to learn words.

I hope that you will have fun learning the Māori alphabet.

Kia pai to ra


This is a free teaching website.

hookThere is no cost to belong to this website as it is a free teaching website. It is designed to help people that want to teach and learn and access Māori resources for teaching or for their own self.  It is open for all ages and stages of life. You are never too old to learn so they say and it is true.  You can read all my articles and reviews and come onto to this site 24/7.  I want this site to be user friendly and easy to move around in.  An easy to use website.  I hope that this clarifies more about what this website is about and who it is for.  What do you think about this?  Please leave a comment below.

Have a good day.

Kia pai to ra.



Using a hīnaki – eel trap.

What are the learning outcomes of using  a hinaki?

Today I will look at a hīnaki or eel trap as a Māori resource for teaching.  We can ask the children and ourselves these questions?


  1. What is the purpose of a hīnaki?  To catch eels for our whanau to eat.
  2. Who can use this? Anybody who wants to catch an eel and has the knowledge of how to use the hīnaki.  You must be strong enough to lift an eel.  And as it is by water I would recommend an adult.
  3. What would be the learning outcomes of taking the children down to the creek to use the hīnaki and go eeling?  
  • fun
  • exercise
  • social skills
  • mathematics
  • developing memory
  • engaging in real life activity
  • learning about sustainability
  • engaging with others-social skills
  • sharing -manaakitanga
  • listening skills developing
  • learning a new life skill


So there is a never ending list of learning outcomes for the children and adults by using this one resource of the hīnaki – eel trap.  Then you can go back into the classroom and retell the story of what you did, draw pictures of the eeling adventure, talk about what the children learnt etc. You could spend a whole week of learning on this one resource.  Maybe get someone in that knows how to make a hīnaki in to help the children make one for your centre.

Here is a pdf link to some interesting facts about long fin eels.  http://www.longfineel.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Tuna-Kuwharuwharu-Longfin-Eel.pdf

I hope that you find this useful.  Any photos or stories you may like to share with others share below in comments.

Kia pai to ra

Enjoy your day.