Monday, 24 August 2015

Te Rangihakahaka

Te Rangihakahaka
All the teachers at my school snuggled down in our beddings on mattresses on the 
  1. Te Papaiouru Marae floor listening to tales of our ancestors. Although most of us would rather be in our own beds, the tales and kind teasing of the snorers were part of the experience that helped create personal bonds; as well as being given the gift of experiencing a night as early Maori lived.

The marae guides highlighted the history and culture of Rotorua, and how we could share these connections in a way that could be experienced in a real learning context that our students could relate to. We started with a powhiri, dinner then tales of the Rotorua ancestors travels to New Zealand and Rotorua. The following day we heard many myths and true stories about the ancestors of the marae and the history of the area. Then we walked around town and more stories and myths brought our town to life with a history that now played new dramas that explained why places were where they were and the reasons behind the names of streets. I felt a stronger, deeper connection to Rotorua.

My biggest takeaway from this experience was knowing that their was such a rich source of local real life stories and myths that could lead to learning across curriculum areas. Stories are a hook for all humans, and what we learnt was they can engage tamariki as well as provide learning opportunities in reading, writing, science, and more. We are lucky to have such an amazing and supportive marae on our doorstep.