This year, Matariki was on Friday, the 14th July. We were still on school holidays and the whole country enjoyed a public holiday. Last week when we came back to school we did a few fun Matariki activities.
We learned that the Matariki stars are a cluster of stars called the Pleiades and they rise in the early morning when it is still dark. They can be seen as the ‘eyes of god.’
We were looking at the Gregorian calendar which was introduced by Pope Gregory in 1582. This calendar is used by most countries in the world and the New Year begins in January. Matariki is the Maori New Year which is in July. Maori spent time together making memories and thinking about those who passed away. They also think about their goals for the future.
During the week we also learned how to play knuckle bones (ruru), which is a game Maori children played many years ago. We found five small stones each from around the school and learned how to throw them up and catch them on the backs of our hands. Then we had to gather the stones one by one each time we threw them up. We soon worked out it is easier not to throw them up too high!! Later in the week we started developing our own games of knuckle bones. Some of our parents said they played knuckle bones when they were younger. They are called different names around the world – Moa in Tonga, Aki in Samoa and Jackstones in the Philippines.
We made Matariki stars using cardboard circles and coloured wool. At the top of this post, is our new class display.