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Year 8 Students Explore Maori Culture and History

October 23, 2019 at 8:29 AM

During a visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum last week, the Year 8 cohort immersed themselves in Maori culture, learning about the Maori rituals, customs, myths and legends and how they utilised the land. As part of their unit ‘Te ao o te Maori’, ‘World of the Maori’, the students looked at how the Maori lived years ago and took part in a workshop, witnessed a cultural show and toured the museum.

During the workshop, the students were taken on a guided bush walk through the Domain where learned about the links between the land, native trees and plants, and humans, and how the Maori used the forest to survive and make tools, weapons and clothing. They also discovered which plants they used for food and medicine. The students had the opportunity look at a kauri and handled traditional weapons, clothing and tools made from some of New Zealand’s native trees. The students were surprised to discover that the markings and patterns made on the piupiu – a traditional skirt-like garment made with dried flax - were made from a type of clay.

Inside the museum, the students looked at traditional artefacts, displays, models, tools, clothing, the meeting house and waka. They worked through a list of questions to broaden their knowledge and understanding of the culture, and investigate how Maori communities obtained food and made use of the land all those years ago. 

To conclude the day, the students were entertained by a group of Maori performers who used song and dance to tell the stories of their ancestors and their journey to New Zealand. The students enjoyed their beautiful voices during their waiata and admired their skill level when it came to poi and rakau stick, and strength when performing the taiaha and haka.

Overall, the trip was fantastic and provided a great opportunity for the students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the history of New Zealand and Maori culture. It also allowed the students to hone in on their Te Reo Maori skills. Our sincere thanks to the museum staff for their time and for sharing their expertise with us! 

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