Activity: What are the actions I can take this Matariki for a thriving world?

Be the kaitiaki that te taiao needs you to be.

Over the course of time, people have changed and been changed by te taiao. Matariki is a wonderful time to learn about our place-based histories, consider the eco-systems that surround us and the way we can play a part in a regenerative future.

Research place-based histories

Ākonga brainstorm together everything they know about the place their school stands, and its surrounding landscape. Share the initial brainstorm with whānau and see if any further information can be added.

Engage with mana whenua, local history experts, local museums, and elders in the community to find out information about:

  • pre-colonial times for mana whenua and ecosystems

  • local pūrākau that explains the shape and features of the living landscape around them

  • the names of local places and how this maintains or threatens mana motuhake

  • the children of Tāne and Tangaroa who were known to thrive in this area in times past

  • the ways human beings have impacted, manipulated and shaped te taiao

  • colonisation, settlement, and the ways in which the landscape has changed as a result.

“We’ve seen the impact of the extractive approach that came with colonialism. It has resulted in a major alienation of land as well as the degradation of our natural environment and ecosystems. And that has flowed through into poor health outcomes for our people.

If we can address climate change from a Māori perspective, we can come up with some solutions that aren’t just a slightly greener version of the status quo.

Instead, they can be about fundamentally transforming our systems and our society into a way that is more consistent with Indigenous principles and with the values of living in a healthy relationship with the natural world.”

– Dr Rhys Jones (Ngāti Kahungunu)
Māori Health, University of Auckland

Analyse values

Reflect on the following whakataukī:

Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au
I am the river and the river is me

  • What are the connections between the health of te taiao and the health of our community?

  • How is te taiao currently thriving or suffering?

  • What are the tangible ways we can positively impact the health of te taiao in our community this Matariki?

“Indigenous and Māori knowledge are deeply rooted in intergenerational knowledge and value systems that, at their core, see themselves as part of nature.”

– Jessica Hutchings (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Huirapa, Gujarat)

Take social action

Matariki is a time to look to the future and to the health and wellbeing of our communities in relation to te taiao. Look to your own communities at this time, and discuss renewal and regeneration. This inquiry path could lead to many types of actions, such as:

  • beach cleanup, cleaning up waterways, or creating an environmental awareness campaign

  • revegetation of local ecosystems, especially waterways and wetlands

  • the renewal and revitalisation of te reo Māori, particularly in relation to place names and landscape features around you

  • a renewal of ties between school community and local hapū and iwi

  • a revitalisation of local Māori knowledge and tikanga in local curriculum in your setting.