Kaikohe East School staff identified a need to build whanaungatanga early on in the school year with their students. Senior syndicate teacher Kelli Witana explaines “we wanted tamariki to experience local marae tikanga and kawa in a real context”.
They had their first noho marae at Te Kohewhata Marae in Kaikohe with great success. Continuing on from that, they were welcomed onto Ngawha this year and although the weather was gloomy, whanau and staff ensured there was plenty of activities and mahi to keep the students engaged which is common on any marae. These included kapa haka, weaving, carving as well as sharing duties of welcoming the other syndicates with karanga, mihimihi and waiata. All of which were led by the tamariki with adult guidance. Kelli noted that “it gave them a real sense of pride.”
School Energizer, Bodean Rogers was really impressed with the way the staff planned a menu with healthy nutrition in mind and goes onto say “they utilized the fruit they already had to make a delicious apple and pear crumble. Potatoes were cooked a number of different ways - a staple on any marae”.
Groups were rostered each day to help prepare kai, set the tables and do the dishes for each meal. This gave the staff and Bodean the perfect opportunity to talk to students about healthy eating and reinforce key Energize messages.
Kelli says “the opportunities for numeracy and literacy in this context is also invaluable and something our kids can connect with better than if they were in a classroom. Those tamariki who normally wouldn’t see themselves as successful in classrooms, tend to be natural leaders in this environment. Tamariki also benefit from the responsibility and team building skills a marae noho experience creates”.
Bodean believes this is a great example of how learning can be applied with a holistic approach during noho marae or school camps. It can have a real impact on students for the rest of the school year. Not only are students learning about the protocol on a marae but also the many curriculum areas Kelli mentions above.
This is something that Kaikohe East School look to continue annually. Kelli believes it is something that is important to the tamariki and whanau of her school and reminds them that they’re all linked by pepeha and whakapapa.