I hope you have managed a well deserved hararei with your friends and whanau over these raumati holidays and you are fresh and ready to inspire our tamariki in 2017!
It’s been a busy time for me with two tamariki iti at home, and a very busy partner who works right through the season. However, whenever I get the chance I am working on developing Poi Princess. I hope I can tautoko you with one of your projects this year, so be sure to email me if you are looking for particular information, activities or rauemi Māori. I love this part of what I’m doing because I continue to learn and grow while helping others.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi
Moving along to Te kaupapa o te marama (Topic of the month): Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi).
Waitangi Day is 2 weeks away. For some this day is significant because you get a day off work, others celebrate Bob Marley’s birthday, for some people it’s a day to reflect on our history and upholding values, and for others it’s a day to celebrate Māori culture in our communities. For some it’s a happy time, for others it creates ill feelings and for others it’s just another day.
Our whanau have spent it a few different ways. The day before is my partners birthday and then on the 6th it’s his sisters birthday, so our plans often revolve around this. In recent years we have attended our local Kai festival at Whakatū marae. One year I held a Poi Princess stall there too. I really enjoyed the pōwhiri and seeing people out and about being immersed in culture.
Now that our oldest girl is gaining more understanding of the world around her I have the chance to consider how I want her to view this time of year, what knowledge I will impart and what traditions we can potentially start.
As a child growing up in small town South Island NZ, I learnt very little about the Treaty of Waitangi. All I knew was that it created a lot of emotions (and if I’m honest) mainly negative ones towards Māori. This I believe is fuelled a lot by the media.
When I studied to be an Early Childhood teacher it was compulsory to study the Treaty, which was my first real glimpse into the bigger picture and the implications we still face today. That was a real eye opener for me and still sticks in my mind. I don’t understand why everyone wasn’t taught this in school. I have a quote in my lounge that says “If you don’t know about your past, you cannot know in what direction to move forward”. This particularly rings true right now. I believe Waitangi day gives us the opportunity to reflect on our past and offer hope for progress in the future.
Some useful Tiriti rauemi
I read a great article – “Now tell me why we are cringing ” – the other day. It is like a ‘Treaty of Waitangi for beginners’ article, in the form of a story. To start, she has removed all of the labels so it is about Joseph, a good kiwi farmer. It’s a story worth reading, reflecting on and sharing with others in my opinion. My partner who had very little knowledge of the Treaty, was somewhat shocked at his own history after reading it.
Last year I came across Tamsin Hanly, who is very passionate about our history here in Aotearoa. She spent 4 years writing 6 volumes on the Treaty, ‘A critical guide to Maori and Pakeha histories’ after finding the primary school curriculum failed to reflect an accurate version of events. She is now doing Professional Development for Preschools and schools with her books, helping teachers meet Treaty obligations with the updated version. This could be something you or your Centre or school might be interested in pursuing. Click here to watch a video of Tamsin explaining the guide.
The Christchurch library have this timeline of Biculturalism and NZ law as part of a children’s Treaty zone. It says that it is just SOME of the documents and laws that have affected how the Treaty has been implemented. I think it shows the journey we are on, how far we’ve come as a Nation but also how hard people have had to work to be heard. It reminds me how much power people of influence such as educators can have and how important it is to contribute to society and reinforce positive attitudes towards Māori that encourage equity and inclusiveness.
What it means to me
To honour the Treaty I believe in some ways it seems simple. To me it’s about accepting and respecting that Māori were the indigenous people of Aotearoa, Tangata whenua and that this is valuable and valued. Although we have moved into a multicultural society, the signing of the Treaty was a partnership between two peoples and those values should not be lost amidst the change. The Treaty acknowledges a commitment to the preservation and celebration of te reo and tikanga Māori and recognition of equal rights and equal status.
To me, this relates to the foundation and vision of Poi Princess. The preservation and celebration of things Māori. As a teacher I felt there were not enough Māori resources for children on the market. As an individual I was on a quest to learn about my Māori heritage. Now as a mother I want to provide my children with resources and language so they will accept that being Māori is normal, accepted and a beautiful part of life for them to embrace. As a business owner I would love to continue to learn and grow and offer the resources I have used or am using to teachers and parents who are on a similar journey.
I also have a few resource pukapuka available for anyone interested.