EIT’s staff and students pulled out all the stops to ensure that Matariki – the Māori New Year – was celebrated in style.
New Zealand’s newest public holiday, Matariki, was officially recognised on Friday, 24 June, for the first time.
However, celebrations at EIT began two weeks before with a calendar of activities.
Putiputi Te Wake-Munro, EIT’s Advisor Mātauranga Māori, says the theme was Mānawatia a Matariki, remembering the past, celebrating the present and planning for the future.
The Younited Student Association event co-ordinator Mary Holster-Tocker and the Pouwhirinaki Kaihoe Apiata organised a Maumaharatanga (Memorial) Wall in the library with the names of those who passed away in the last year where people could write names of recently deceased loved ones and put them on the wall. A central theme for Matariki, is remembering those that have passed on over the last 12 months. So when Matariki rises, that’s when they get released and become stars.
Mary and Kaihoe also organised a number of events, including a Matariki quiz, Matariki treasure hunt, Te Ūranga Waka (EIT’s School of Maori Language) kapa haka performance, a band from the music school and a provided lunch on the Wednesday. There were shared activities with the children from the Ōtātara Early Childhood Learning Centre. Some of these events also occurred in the Regional Learning Centres.
Building a sense of community was an important focus for both staff and students
Putiputi says: “What I wanted to focus on was our staff celebrating each other. It was good to see the staff of different schools or different departments opening their doors and inviting people into their space.”
The School of Viticulture and Wine Science opened its doors for wine and cheese, as well as a tour of the school’s facilities.
IDEAschool offered laser cutting, where staff could create artwork or words and have them cut on thin board. They also made taki (darts) and displayed them outside the Twist library. Karaoke sessions and a Matariki tea ceremony were also held.
A number of activities were held at the Ōtātara Outdoor Learning Centre (OOLC) including an Outdoor and Adventure lunch of caught and foraged kai. EIT’s Learning in Nature facilitators Robyn McCool and Megan McBride created a space where each Matariki star was acknowledged for nine days.
“There was also a Matariki cloak at the centre made out of any items you found in the outdoor learning centre,” says Putiputi.
On EIT’s Ruatōria Campus, a ukulele event was held, while a shared lunch was held on the Auckland Campus and Hautapu shared kai at the Tairāwhiti Campus.
Other events included a Matariki video, featuring Dr Rangi Mātāmua, streaming in the atrium (student hub); health checks for staff; Hui Whakatau; te reo Māori pronunciation lessons; and shared kai with School of Education and Social Science.
Putiputi says that overall, she was pleased with how staff embraced Matariki this year.
“We want mātauranga Māori to be lived and breathed at Te Aho a Māui”.