Students celebrate Matariki through theatre - Feature

By Numia Ponika-Rangi

There are many ways to celebrate Matariki, including family gatherings, workshops, historical talks and meetings, however an event run by the Wānanga Takiura o ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tāmaki Makaurau, saw the Rūmaki Reo class using theatre, acting, song and dance, to show their knowledge of Matariki.

Amongst the students including Māori were many other cultures and backgrounds, seeking the knowledge, grasping the teachings, and working together to express the Matariki message of friendships and family.

According to Ropata Pollock, “Being a Pākehā, I didn't really know what Matariki was all about, but now I'm a bit more informed and I think Matariki is a great event for Māori and Pākehā as well.”

Carmel Skeaff says, “Because I live in Auckland, and live full time in NZ, I thought I should learn about Matariki and what it's all about.”

Along with the fun and frivolity, the students are well aware that both they and their performances are also being judged by their teachers.

Teacher Gregory Munoz says, "Some of these students have no knowledge of Matariki, so in producing their plays, they must use technology to research the topic, they must investigate and seek the knowledge."

"We're here to help them if they need it, but it's up to them to portray what they've learnt about Matariki, through theatre."

Matariki was a time to remember those who had died in the last year, but it was also a happy event with crops being harvested and seafood and birds collected.

With plenty of food in the storehouses, Matariki was a time for singing, dancing and feasting.