Hokowhitu Kindergarten teachers identified Isabelle had interest and skill with poi, and discovered her Mum, Amelia Tamarapa, teaches the kapa haka group at Winchester School. Kindergarten teacher Gina Livingstone and Amelia organised whānau poi making workshops, which proved popular in the lead up to the kindergarten’s Matariki concert.
Poi, the Māori word for ‘ball’ on a cord, were traditionally used as a tool for increasing hand strength and flexibility, as well as improving coordination. The workshops were a wonderful way for tamariki to learn new skills alongside parents and whānau, while embracing Māori culture and having fun. As well as using bought material, the activity was a great way to recycle resources such as fabric, polyester filling, hat elastic, and twine.
Amelia also guided kapa haka and poi practice in preparation for the kindergarten’s Matariki concert. On the day, five children lead the waiata E toru ngā mea, with all of the kindergarten children performing poi and tī rākau.
The kindergarten teachers’ bicultural focus on learning about the Māori New Year, was intentional. Māori myths and legends were explored through literacy, dramatic play, music, and creative activities such as korowai, kites, harakeke weaving.
This learning was further extended with the kindergarten children supporting the Winchester School’s Te Opa Kura group’s performance at the Te Pae Tamariki Kapa Haka festival.