By Peter Corlett
Local Kaumatua Don Te Maipi has introduced Maori syndicate names to Waikanae School.
Matariki, the traditional Maori New Year, was celebrated at Waikanae School with several school-wide events. Matariki is a traditional time to reflect on the past and to continue with positive beginnings.
For Waikanae School this has been expressed in the renaming the three school syndicates with new names, each with its own significance, focused on expressing the learning journey of Waikanae School students.
In 2011 the school decided that it wanted to give Maori names to the three newly formed syndicates. Choosing the names came after extensive consultation with the Maori community.
A special Matariki Assembly has been held in the Waikanae Memorial Hall to unveil new syndicate names to the wider community, with an art display and a Matariki meal in the school hall hosted by the Whanau Roopu (Family Support group).
Students and teachers had been working with these names over the past term, producing a range of art work representing the designs and patterns associated with each of the new syndicate names. and there are a series of tukutuku panels (see below) showing the special pattern for each syndicate.
The assembly was followed by students planting over 100 plants in the school gardens, with a row of Pukapuka trees along the school boundary.
An explanation of the syndicate names and the associated pattern are:
Nga Tohu Arahi –The Guiding Symbols
The chosen names centre around the environmentally inspired patterns found in Tukutuku panels. The main reason for selecting these Tukutuku patterns as names is that most children when entering a carved wharenui (meeting house) throughout Aotearoa New Zealand will be able to connect to and identify with these patterns. The patterns are relatively generic across all Iwi and hence will provide a sense of belonging for all our tamariki both within the school environment and beyond.
Accordingly, each Reanga (syndicate) has been afforded a corresponding Tukutuku design selected specifically for them which denotes the qualities and traits that relate to that stage of growth and learning. The significance of naming the Reanga (age & stage) and providing a Tohu (symbol) and Kiwaha (wisdom statement) is to promote a sense of identity, pride, connection and continuity across the school.
Perhaps the greatest significance of these names to the syndicates is that they bring a ‘life force’ to the syndicate identity – the names identify the syndicate as a living whanau with its own mauri, its own whakapapa, its own kaupapa, its own whakatauki and with its sense of ‘family and belonging’. In essence this creates a very powerful identity that lies deeper than the face value of simply having a name. It has the potential to create a culture of its own within the realms of kaupapa Maori and can be a living example of Maori practice.
Te Waharua Years 1, 2, 3
Te Waharua denotes the small, double diamond shapes that are said to represent a ‘double mouth’ or ‘two mouths’. It was a pattern traditionally utilised to represent courage and commitment.
The significance of the pattern is about the two pathways or the partnership that is formed between matua (parents) and the school when their precious taonga, their Tamariki (child) enters the school environment. It acknowledges the tremendous courage a child demonstrates in their first years at school. These years being the most important in their positive transition into formal learning. The three diamonds found in the centre of the pattern signify the first three years in the syndicate.
Kiwaha (wisdom statement) KIA KAHA Be Strong and Courageous
TE ARAMOANA Years 4, 5, 6
When the sun sets behind Kapiti Island, the sun reflects and glimmers upon Te Rau o Te Rangi (the sea channel) creating ‘Te Aramoana’. This sunlit pathway denotes the hopes and dreams of whanau that their tamariki will fulfil whatever goals they set out to achieve in life. The school is an important and influential environment to shape and nurture these types of skills within our tamariki.
More importantly, when the seas get rough, like Te Rau o Te Rangi, Kapiti Island provides a symbol of unwavering strength and commitment. This likens to the child shaping their own character, identity and standing strong.
Kiwaha (wisdom statement) KIA MANAWANUI Be Strong of Heart & Self-Determining
TE POUTAMA Years 7 & 8
This pattern is derived from the creation story of Tane-o-te-wananga in his quest for Nga Kete o Te Matauranga – the three baskets of knowledge. The importance of this creation story is not just in the attainment of the baskets but more so in the learning’s attained on his journey to get there. The steps show the on-going learning that occurs throughout life and symbolises the transition from primary school and the preparation for college.
Kiwaha (wisdom statement) KIA MAIA Be Capable and Confident.