Dancing with Māori Mythology

Some Auckland primary school children are learning how to tell Māori mythology through movement and dance. Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Maungarongo is one of the schools taking part.

Learning how to tell Māori Mythology through movement and dance is a new experience for these children.

The Dancing with Mythology workshops is taught by the Atamira Dance Company,as part of the Vodafone Events Centre Schools Programme in South Auckland.  Inspiration is sought from the centre's carved post of "Pou Kapūa."

Matiu Hamuera from the Atamira Dance Company says, “The theme for this workshop is about the legend of Rata and his canoe. The message we want the children to grasp is to appreciate and respect those who take care of them, whoever that is.”

This is the fourth year the workshops have been running for and is open to all Auckland schools. One of its aims is to use dance to create a normal environment for the Māori language to be spoken.

“In the beginning, the students know few Māori words, but by the end of the workshop, they've learnt a lot more,” says Hamuera.

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Maungarongo is the only Māori language school taking part in the workshop, and in only two and a half hours, the students have created their own dance movements to show the legend of Rata.

Atamira Dance hopes to hold more of these workshops throughout the year and be available to any school that wants to take part.