What is Matariki?


What is Matariki?  In late May early June a group of stars can be seen rising up in the sky.  The name of this group of stars is Matariki.  It is the Māori name for the Pleaides star cluster.   Mata o te Ariki or the eyes of God.  It is the beginning of the Māori new year.  It is also known as the seven sisters.

Pleaides is the Greek name.

Subaru  meaning gathered together is the Japanese word for Matariki.

Makali’i meaning eyes of loyalty is the Hawaiian word for Matariki.

Here is a utube link to watch a short story on Matariki. 

Matariki is a time for harvesting kumara and other vegetables in the garden.  You can also plant out seeds or seedlings into the garden too.  Check your maramataka to see which days are best.

Photo by Shlomo Shalev on Unsplash

There is a great resource provided by the Christchurch library that all teachers can check out here.

These are the children of Ranginui the sky:

Whetū                              star

Kapua                                cloud

Ua                                          rain

Rā                                              sun

Āniwaniwa                        rainbow

Marama                             moon

Whetū marama               planet

Māngōroa                        The milky way

Māhutonga      Southern Cross

Kōpu                                 morning star

Meremere Tūahiahi   Evening star

Matariki    Pleaides

Unenuku  God of the rainbow

Tāwhirimtea    God of the wind

Rūaumoko        God of Earthquakes volcanoes

Here are some great books you can get that children will love and learn about Matariki.

Seven Kites of Matariki

Little Kiwi's Matariki

Matariki The Maori New Year





World Environment day,

Tena Koe welcome to this blog about World Environment Day.  This day is celebrated on the 5th June 2020 and I would like to talk a bit about what this day is and what you and the children can do to engage on this day.

Photo: Mt Maunganui NZ

World Environment Day.  What is it about you may ask?  It is about being aware of the world around us and learning about ways in which we can awhi (help)the world.  Give some Manaakitanga to our world.  There are many things we can do to help the world and reducing what we buy is one of them.

Recycling things,  Reusing things in our environment instead of throwing them into the earth.  We need to be composting our kitchen scraps and growing gardens.

Photo: My Moko in the garden.

This year the theme is biodiversity.  Biodiversity means biological diversity and it includes the diversity and life of water and land life in the world.  You could do lots of activities with children around this theme and include families and their ideas too.

Some ideas for World  Environment Day.

  • Plant a native tree.
  • Plant a Native bush.
  • Start a recycle area in your classroom or home.
  • Start a compost bin or pile in the garden.
  • Plant vegetables and flowers.
  • Make a bug hotel.
  • Make bird feeders for the garden.
  • Make up a song about biodiversity to share.
  • Engage in community plantings.
  • Do some art ir a wall display to represent the environment and biodiversity.

A Māori whakatauki.




Any further ideas or tell us what you have done please leave a comment below.


Eco friendly products -help save our earth!

Today we are all aware that being eco friendly and using eco friendly products is something that is becoming the norm.  Children are learning about how to reuse, recycle and learning how to look after their world with the assistance from you.  You are the biggest role model when it comes to helping to save our earth.  Your actions will be followed by children and adults that you are connected with each day.

plastic So let’s start promoting products that are going to break down in the environment.  Did you know that it takes 50 years for a margarine container to break down and a plastic bag takes 40 years and we use them once.  Newspaper but will break down in 3 months and brown paper bag will take 2 months to break down.  STOP BUYING PLASTIC!

I want to look at alternative products that you can buy and use over and over and if you need to they will compost.  The eco warehouse provides environmentally friendly and sustainable products.  These are some of the products that I think would be great to buy.

    • compostible zip lock bags
    • sandwich paper bags
    • honey wraps
    • wooden toys
    • eco friendly face paint
    • beeswax crayons
    • recycled pens and pencils
    • seed bombs
    • compostible bin liners
    • kids bamboo toothbrushes
    • leak proof lunchbox

Go check out what they have to offer here click the box.


What are the learning outcomes for children using sustainable products?

  • allows children to be responsible for their actions
  • develops thriftiness
  • allows children to help create a better future for themselves
  • increase children’s awareness for their environment and what goes into the landfill
  • develop knowledge about composting and gardening
  • develop understanding about kaitiakitanga
  • developing knowledge about papatūānuku
  • developing knowledge about recycling and what can be made from recycled stuff
  • developing knowledge about protecting the environment
  • engaging in recycling of your own rubbish is fun



Māori medicine plant -Kumarahou

What is a Māori medicine plant?

Māori have used plants, trees, ferns for medicines for a very long time. The forest was and is the chemist shop for us.   I will be working my way through different rongoa for you to learn about and you could teach the children about these too. Rongoa is Māori herbal medicines in this context.

Where do you find the plants?

The plants must be sources from the bush not just from the side of the road as those are contaminated from toxins from car fumes, rubbish etc.  You will have to find out where your native bush is and if it is on private land you will have to get permission to access it.  There are many places in New Zealand where you can access these plants from.

Identification of plants.

To help you with the identification of plants you will need to learn about them.  One of the handy books that I have and use is the book From Weta To Kauri: A Guide To The Nz Forest.  This book will help you to identify plants, ferns, trees and native insects and birds in New Zealand forests.  I highly recommend getting a hold of this resource for yourself and for your classroom.

Kumarahou,Papapa, Poverty weed, Golden Tainui, Gumdiggers’ soap

maori medicine

This beautiful shrub is blooming with flowers at this time of the year (Spring).  They are a fluffy yellow flower.

This plant can be found in the North Island forest edges.  It loves the rich red soils and grows well under other natives.

The leaves are steeped in water is well known for relieving chest complaints, asthma and colds.  Especially good for bronchitis.  The Māori people used it for Tuberculosis or TB too.

The plant is also used to cure skin diseases and kidney complaints.  It was used  in a steam bath to help those suffering.

It got the name ‘Gumdiggers soap’ as when the flowers are crushed they make a soapy lather in your hands.  And the gumdiggers must have used this.  A very versatile plant.  I like to make tea with this and drink it to relieve chest complaints.

Another handy book that will help you on your journey with Māori Rongoa is this book Te Rongoa Maori Medicine.   A must have for anyone learning about Māori medicines and their uses.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must remember that some plants are poisonous to ingest so you must follow the directions on the label of all medicines.  Do not ingest if you are not sure.

Walking trips with children.

I hikoi ahau mo tenei ata.  This morning I went for a walk.

Today was such a lovely morning that I decided to go for a walk up our local walking track here in Kaikohe.  The track starts here and goes to Okaihau then down to Horeke.  I think it is 40 km to Horeke.  I just walked for half an hour then turned and walked back to the start of the track.  This walk reminded me of the importance of taking walking trips with children.  The fresh air, listening to the wildlife, looking at all the different plants and trees this is  the great outdoors and this is a wonderful place for children to learn.

Where is your local walk way?

Here is a mission for you to complete if you are interested in the great outdoors and children’s learning.

  1. Find out where you can take children walking in your area.
  2. Go do the walk yourself and look at the different things that you could teach children about along the way e.g. types of plants, trees, mountains etc.
  3. talk to families and children about taking a walking trip.  Get their feedback
  4. Once you have everyone interested suggest a date for your walk.
  5. Organise permission from families and get families/caregivers to come along on the walk with you.
  6. Be prepared for another day in case of bad weather.
  7. Take a picnic and water and most important a phone and first aid kit for emergencies.
  8. Take cameras and get the children to document the walk.
  9. Thank people that helped by making cards with the children.
  10. Review your day with the children and investigate all the things they documented e.g. the bird or tree they took a photo of.
  11. Use different websites to find out what you what the children to learn.
  12. Have fun!

Learning Outcomes of a Hikoi – Walk.

  • Children learn through their senses.  Developing all senses e.g. touch, smell, taste, sounds
  • Develops confidence.
  • Increases awareness of what lives in the outdoor environment e.g. insects, birds, cows
  • Builds strengthens large and small motor skills.WALKING TRACK
  • Creates imagination.
  • Inspires art
  • Creates conversations.
  • Develops spatial awareness.
  • Increases hand eye co ordination
  • Increase co ordination of the body.
  • Allows children to be a s noisy as they want to be.
  • Allows children to run, skip, jump, hop etc without interruption.
  • Promotes a healthy life style.
  • Increase knowledge of local place names.
  • increases knowledge of plant names and tress names in both English and Māori languages.
  • Develops social skills.

Things to look for on your walk.

  1. Animal, insect homes.
  2. Spider webs and spiders.
  3. Hills or mountains.
  4. Birds and bird nests. Listen to different bird calls and record.
  5. Fruits on trees.
  6. Flowers on trees and growing.
  7. Wild life turkeys, goats, pigs.
  8. Different colours in nature.
  9. Butterflies, chrysalis.
  10. Feathers.


I hope that you have enjoyed this post.  Don’t forget to write in the comments below.