Twenty-one tamariki (children) from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Puaha o Waikato, are set for a high-speed journey back in time.
This week the children, accompanied by parents and teachers, will board a winged waka and head to Rarotonga.
The cultural connection is strong, as centuries ago, their ancestral waka, Tainui, journeyed from Rarotonga to Aotearoa. Several of the Great Migration waka from other islands, also visited Rarotonga on their various routes to the south-west.
Aged eight to twelve, the children will visit the Garden of Seven Stones, which commemorates waka used in the Great Migration. They will also interact with Cook Island families to learn about the origins of the Great Migration.
Kura Principal, Phyllis Bhana, states, “It is important for tamariki to experience this wonderful heritage of voyage and discovery. Knowing and respecting heritage builds identity and pride, and that makes better Kiwis.”
“The venture has other aims as well. We hope the theme of voyaging will put in perspective some unique features of our kura (school), which overlooks Te Wahapuu, the estuary of the Waikato River, the life-vein of the Tainui nation.”
Further cultural adventures await when the children return.
Acquired through the efforts of the parents’ group, the kura will soon launch its very own waka.
Along with providing teaching opportunities, the waka will be used to teach water safety. It’s hoped this will help reduce the high rate of drownings among Maori and Pasifika people.
The public are welcome to visit Kura Kaupapa on Stack Road, Port Waikato.
Tamariki of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Puaha o Waikato, gather in front of the kura (school) building before their Rarotonga adventure begins.