Matariki 2019

Matariki signals the start of the Māori New Year that begins with the rising of the Matariki star cluster (the Pleiades or Seven Sisters).

Because Māori follow Maramataka (the Māori lunar calendar), not the European calendar, the dates for Matariki change every year. In 2019  Matariki will re-appear in the dawn sky between the 25th to 28th June.

Matariki is a time a time for renewal, celebration and wellbeing. Māori were guided by  the stars, when Matariki disappeared in April/May, it was time to preserve crops for the winter season. When it re-appeared in June/July, tūpuna would read the stars to predict the upcoming season – clear and bright stars promised a warm and abundant winter while hazy stars warned of a bleak winter (from Te Iwa o Matariki).

See our last year’s post on Matariki »

Te Iwa o Matariki Resources

Find out more about Te Iwa o Matariki with these helpful resources.


What do I say to my child? Helping your child after a traumatic event

MOH advice on how to help your children cope with trauma

How children react to trauma is different from adults – they may withdraw or behave in a more “babyish” way, seem anxious or clingy, be preoccupied with the event in their play or drawing, have problems sleeping or nightmares, or may get physical symptoms such as stomach aches or headaches.

As with adults, most children will recover with support and love from those around them.

As parents or caregivers you will know your kids best, and what works for them. Some simple dos and don’ts to guide you support a distressed child are:


  1. Reassure them that the event is over and they are safe.
  2. Encourage them to talk about how they feel about what happened.
  3. Tell them they can ask questions, and answer these in plain language appropriate to their age – be honest but avoid details of the trauma.
  4. Tell them that feeling upset or afraid is normal, and that telling you how they are feeling will help, that with time they will feel better.
  5. Be understanding – they may have problems sleeping, tantrums, wet the bed – be patient and reassuring if this happens – again, with support and care it will pass.
  6. Give your children extra love and attention.
  7. Remember that children look to their parents to both feel safe and to know how to respond – reassure them, share that you are upset too but that you know you will all be fine together.
  8. Try to keep to normal routines – mealtimes, bedtimes etc. – allow them to get out and play, to go to the park etc.
  9. HOWEVER if a child’s distress is escalating, or they are displaying any worrying behaviours – extreme withdrawal, terror that you cannot comfort them from etc – seek help early. Your GP is a good start, OR For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk it through with a trained counsellor.


  1. Talking about the details of a traumatic event repeatedly can be harmful. Children may be fascinated/horrified and may want to ask about details, talk about what they saw/experienced.
  2. If this is repeated try to refocus them on how they are feeling e.g. what happened is awful, it’s normal to feel upset or afraid, how are you feeling?
  3. Don’t tell them “don’t worry” or “don’t be upset” – it is natural to want to protect them from fear and difficult emotions, but they need to have their feelings acknowledged and validated as a normal response.
  4. Try not to be over-protective, again this is a natural thing for a parent to do, but as part of keeping normal

See also:

What to tell children about the Christchurch mosque shootings

Parents wrestling with how to explain the Christchurch mosque massacre to their children should tell them they’re safe, but be honest that something bad has happened.

Clinical psychologist Dr Sarb Johal said that when it came to dealing with tragedy, children took cues from their parents

“Kids need to be told ‘you’re safe, we’re safe, something bad has happened and there are people out there helping’,” Johal said.

Read more: What to tell children about the Christchurch mosque shootings
Stuff, 15/3/2019

Early Learning Strategic Plan | He taonga te tamaiti

Ministry of Education, 19 November 2018

A draft strategic plan for early learning for the next 10 years is now open for public consultation.

He taonga te tamaiti aims to develop and strengthen the early learning sector, to meet the needs of all children and their families and whānau.

Key proposals for change include:

  • moving towards a 100% qualified teacher workforce in early childhood education centres
  • improving the adult:child ratios for babies and toddlers
  • increasing the consistency and levels of teacher salaries and conditions across the sector
  • a more planned approach to establishing new services, greater support and increased monitoring.

Hui & Online Survey

Consultation includes an online survey as well as a series of hui around the country.

He taonga te tamaiti is open for consultation until 15 March 2019.

The full draft plan is available in:

The summary draft plan is available in:


Mental Health Awareness Week 8-14 October 2018

Let nature in, strengthen your wellbeing – Mā te taiao, kia whakapakari tōu oranga

Connecting with nature can uplift your wairua/spirit and promote mental health and wellbeing.

Five Ways to Wellbeing

Five Ways to Wellbeing are five simple yet proven actions you can use every day to help you find balance, build resilience and boost your wellbeing.


Connect / Whakawhanaungatanga

The illustration shows the connection between people and nature, particularly in places of cultural significance. The marae and two people in a hongi represents people receiving and giving strength to each other. Their wellbeing is boosted through a community context.

Take Notice / Me Aro Tonu

The whānau/family on the hill are looking up at Ranginui/Sky Father, discovering his role and admiring his beauty. They’re learning about themselves and the natural environment as they do it. Another illustration representing ‘Take Notice’ is the woman in the middle of the poster, who is closing her eyes and paying more attention to the present moment, her thoughts, feelings and the world around her.

Keep Learning / Me Ako Tonu

Connecting to places that enrich cultural identity feature throughout the design. Maunga, awa, whenua and marae are all places that are spoken about in a pepeha (how Māori connect through their whakapapa/genealogy). The illustration encourages you to continue learning about your whakapapa, regardless of where you come from, and to reconnect with your family. You might find this illustration aligns well with ‘Keep Learning’, another action from the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

Be Active / Me Kori Tonu

Featured throughout the illustration is fishing, running, playing, biking, hiking and being mindful. These are just a selection of common ways to be physically active in Aotearoa.

Give / Tukua

Giving is all about sharing the first of your harvest. Papatūānuku is gifting the kete/basket of kaimoana/seafood, and the sun is providing warmth and energy, and acting as a kaitiaki/guardian in the sky to support the work of Ranginui.

More information »

Fact sheet: About the Five Ways to Wellbeing »

Source: Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand


Te Wiki o te Reo | Māori Māori Language Week

September 10th-14th

Theme: Kia Kaha te Reo Māori

‘Kia Kaha’ is well known in New Zealand meaning ‘be strong’. We’re talking about language health, strength and revitalisation. So when we say ‘Kia Kaha te Reo Māori’ we’re saying -‘Let’s make the Māori language strong’!

“Strength for an endangered language comes from its status, people being aware of how to support revitalisation, people acquiring and using it and from the language having the right words and terms to be used well for any purpose.”
Source: Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori

Wellington Events

Māori Language Parade

10th September 2018

The hīkoi will start at 12pm at Parliament grounds and continue through the centre of town to ‘Te Ngākau’ (Civic Square).

The organisers, The Māori Language Commission, are hoping for bright, colourful and themed parade with walkers and floats dressed to celebrate te reo Māori.

The Dowse Art Museum

10th -16th Sep, 10am – 5pm ǀ Free

Drop into The Hive – a family lounge and discover puzzles, stories, crafts and activities to explore and celebrate Te Reo Māori.

National Library – Children’s Stories and Sustainable Art

Te Ahumairangi Ground Floor, Saturday 15 September 2018 10:30am – 12:30pm

Fun for mokopuna and tamariki. Enjoy stories in English and te reo Māori and to make some great earth friendly art!

Learn from our resident story teller. Resident story teller Watene Kaihua will present interactive te reo stories where tamariki can learn new words and have fun.

Make a kete or poi from recycled materials, do some colouring in or make a mask of an Atua (Māori god).

About Te Wiki o te Reo

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori is a government-sponsored initiative intended to encourage New Zealanders to promote the use of the Māori language, which, along with English and New Zealand Sign Language, is an official language of the country. Māori Language Week is part of a broader revival of the Māori language.

It has been celebrated since 1975 and is currently spearheaded by Te Puni Kōkiri (the Ministry of Māori Development) and the Māori Language Commission, with many organizations including schools, libraries, and government departments participating.
Source: Wikipedia


Latest ERO report

Read our latest ERO report (August 2018)

Review Findings

Children benefit from positive relationships with teachers who know them well. Their learning is celebrated throughout the home-like environment. An emphasis on creative arts is evident. Science and mathematics learning are woven into play-based contexts. Routine times are used well for meaningful learning and discussion. Open-ended questioning supports and enhances children’s thinking. A recent success for the service has seen a range of very useful strategies embedded to promote literacy and oral language. This is a centre strength.

Infants and toddlers explore confidently alongside teachers who prioritise their wellbeing and follow their lead. Children’s sense of place and belonging is actively promoted. A wide range of suitable resources are available for children to explore at their own pace. Unhurried care routines are aligned with home practices, and used well as learning and relationship building opportunities.

Teachers prioritise inclusive practices. Children with diverse learning needs are well supported to engage with the programme and their peers. Their families are supported and outside agencies accessed as appropriate.

Teachers share a wide range of useful information with families and seek their input on the service’s curriculum and operation. Leaders agree that a more robust range of strategies, focused on reciprocal learning partnerships, would enable more meaningful ongoing engagement. Establishing the service’s priority learning outcomes for children, in consultation with families, is a useful next step. This should assist in strengthening the goals within the service’s strategic plan, to guide improvements.

Aspects of te reo and kaupapa Māori are appropriately evident in the curriculum. Teachers have established a shared understanding of sites of significance to Māori in the local area. Leaders and teachers continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori perspectives across the programme. Teachers should also build a greater understanding of what success looks like for the service’s whānau Māori, as well as for Pacific families.

Teachers are attuned to children’s interests and use these, alongside the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki, as the foundation for assessment and planning. Children’s portfolios record observations and show children’s progress over time. The communication and cues of individual children are strongly reflected. A next step for the service is to clearly show how these observations are used to inform specific teaching strategies, to extend and challenge children. Teachers should consider how documentation could show:

  • the use of individual development plans for children with diverse learning needs
  • the impact of culturally responsive teaching, tailored to specific children
  • the impact of the bicultural curriculum for all children
  • how children’s learning has benefitted from partnerships with parents
  • how assessment of learning, and evaluation of teaching strategies, contributes to future plans for each child.

Children and their families are well supported to settle into the centre and transition between rooms, with a range of inclusive and flexible strategies. Consideration of children’s readiness for school is appropriately aligned to social competence and confidence as learners. The service agrees that a next step is to consider ways to share useful information about individual children with school staff.

The teaching team collaborate on improvement-focused reviews. Very useful professional research contributes to changes in the programme and practice. Parents are consulted and kept well informed. However, documentation of the impact of these improvements on children’s learning needs to be strengthened. Indicators should be measurable and focused on children’s outcomes. In addition, introducing a monitoring component to emergent evaluations is required, to support teachers to know the success of smaller programme changes.

Appraisal processes should have a stronger focus on children’s outcomes. The manager acknowledges the need to align to current Education Council requirements. This is a key next step for the service.

Members of the teaching team work well together, and take on appropriate areas of leadership based on their strengths and interests. A commitment to making ongoing improvements for the benefit of children is clearly evident.

Read the full report »


Early Learning Strategic Plan

Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga

A new strategic plan is being developed to set the direction and vision for early learning, for the next 10 years. The groups working on the draft plan are currently seeking people’s views through an online survey.

Their work will also draw on the Education Summit events and the broader Education Conversation.

A Ministerial Advisory Group, a larger Reference Group that includes sector stakeholders, and the Ministry of Education are working together to develop the draft plan.


This is your chance to have your say on the future of New Zealand education for children from 0 – 5 years old. Nearly all New Zealand children attend early learning services before starting school.

What do you think is working well and what could be changed to improve early learning for all New Zealand children?

Start the survey now.

Closes 31 Jul 2018


Maramataka is used to guide the planting and harvesting of crops, and fishing and hunting. Maramataka translates as ‘moon rotating’.

For most tribes the lunar months began with the new moon, but for some with the full moon (Rākaunui). The start of each month was aligned to the morning rising of particular stars. The maramataka names are similar for most tribes, but the order may vary from tribe to tribe (Source: online Māori dictionary)


Download a maramataka poster (Māori lunar calendar)