May 9, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Pou Set the Stage for Memorable Matariki Finale

2 min read

Taipa Area School in Doubtless Bay, Far North wrapped up their week-long Matariki festivities last term with a spectacular show staged on Taipa Beach. Despite a cold southerly and passing showers on the last day, a rainbow added dramatic effect and the show rocked on.

Trees, insects and giant birds of Tane Mahutas great forest set the beach alight with a flurry of colour and movement as junior students swayed and swooped to island drum beats. 7 carved pou, traditional markers for ki-o-rahi representing the constellation of Matariki, defined a central performance area surrounded by palisades and native greenery.

The heritage show directed by local film maker Peter Tait, represented the stories and settlement of people in Doubtless Bay with dancing girls, giant playing cards, billowing sails and native Maori depicting the first exchanges.

It was a great finale to a very busy term with weeks of workshops making costumes and props and generally just getting kids and staff prepared says Peter. Its been a challenging but rewarding experience.

The show, Karanga Taipa (Call to Taipa) brought an intensive week-long programme to a close with more than 600 people visiting the school over 5 days.

Festival organisers Pepi Patch definitely want to make this an annual community event. This year we hosted more than 15 schools and early childhood groups from as far away as Moerewa, Kaikohe, Kawakawa and Te Kao says coordinator Anna Tripp. The festival was a perfect example of how groups can work together to build understanding and enhance learning opportunities in our community. We have all the resources we need right here and the most valuable of those are our local people.

The festival highlighted a number of local projects where the school and community are actively engaged. These include beach planting with Betsy Young and the Taipa Beach Improvement Society, a community food garden in progress supported by Ngati Kahu Social and Health Services and students working alongside local artists such as sculptor Wiremu Diamond, painter Theresa Reihana, sculptor Jen Gaye and film maker Peter Tait.

Throughout the week, guest speakers and facilitators shared their knowledge of Maori language, culture and traditions while local agencies like Te Oranga, Te Hiku Media & Far North REAP hosted key events such as the Matariki Ki-o Rahi Games, Pakipaki Mai Muriwhenua (talent quest) and Taonga Puoro (traditional Maori instruments) with specialist Jerome Kavanagh.

Pepi Patch wishes to acknowledge the kaumatua, parents and staff who invested their energy, wisdom and creativity in support of this years festival – also to the schools, early childhood providers and organisations who share the same community vision for celebrating Matariki. Thanks and acknowledgment also goes to community sponsors and funders: Ma Te Reo, Creative NZ, Far North District Council, Ngati Kahu Social and Health Services, Northland DHB (HEHA), CBEC, Ministry of Youth Development, Te Hauora o te Hiku o te Ika, Te Hiku Media, Far North REAP, Te Oranga and Te Runanga o Te Rarawa.

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