Matariki is a distinctly New Zealand time, an opportunity to come together to pause, reflect and look to the future. As it’s also our newest public holiday, many English Language Partners (ELP) centres grabbed the chance to celebrate with whānau and friends, to share kai, and to check in and kōrero about the people and things they're grateful for.
In Palmerston North, our centre had fun sharing Aotearoa’s culture, customs and flora and fauna with their learners, former refugees and migrants learning English.
Their trip to the country on such a superb winter’s day was a spectacular way for newer Kiwis, now calling New Zealand home, to learn how to plant trees, grow seedlings and to even discover what’s best to feed a worm farm.
ELP teacher Helen Van den Ende, who hosted the visit, showed learners her rows of native trees where people could hear the birdsong and the extraordinary sounds that Tuis make.
People picked fruit to accompany the ethnic food they’d brought to share, and Helen showed learners how to pick Kawakawa leaves to make a cup of tea to go with the tasty morning tea.
‘Farmer Mark’ explained the different kinds of pastures the cows graze, inspiring some learners to have a go at feeding the cows with bales of hay. He also demonstrated how to use a piece of grass to test if an electric fence is on, a very handy tip!
Learners then headed to a paddock for some exercise, flying the kites they’d made in advance of the trip.
Before returning to city life, the last activity for these learners, who now call New Zealand home, was to mark Matariki by flying one huge rainbow kite in the sky to remember loved ones who have passed and to inspire them to set new goals for the year ahead.
Mānawatia a Matariki, celebrate Māori New Year!