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Photo by Amie Blackwell

Matariki at Riccarton

Anne Jacques —

When Matariki rises it is a sign that the colder days are drawing to a close and the earth will soon warm up for planting. It is the new year. It is a time of celebration. And at Riccarton High School, we celebrated. 

The week began with Queen’s Birthday – a celebration in itself. The school was decorated with stars, whānau groups practised their mihi and the kapahaka practised hard for their presentations.

On Wednesday we saw the result of so much practice in a full assembly when the kapahaka performed a bracket of waiata and haka, a dynamic Filipino group danced for us, one of our international students told us a story about the meeting of stars in the Milky Way, and we were challenged to explain different proverbs in a variety of languages. It was wonderful to experience a little of the cultures which our students bring to Riccarton.

During the week, Māori students had been busy after school chopping up vegetables, rolling out pastry, browning chicken, frying bread and preparing for the whānau hui on Thursday evening. This was very well attended by over eighty people, teachers, students and whanau. It began with a very stirring performance by the kapahaka, then the younger members were occupied in the hall by our senior students, while the adults met and talked together about educational engagement and parenting, before sharing the meal which the students had worked so hard to prepare.

The whole week included opportunities for students to challenge themselves –taking selfies with the stars, completing the whānau mihi challenge, filling out wishes for the library or competing in the star challenges where students could win stars for various activities. It was a wonderful welcome to the New Year – many thanks to the Bi-cultural committee and our Māori students for their organisation.