Young stars shine

Last updated 05:00 27/06/2012

Simply singing: St John Bosco pupils, from left, Manaaki Goodin and Faith Garrick sing an action song during the school's Matariki event last week.

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The rain stopped just in time last week for St John Bosco School to celebrate Matariki.

About 200 people including pupils and people from the school community gathered last Thursday evening to celebrate the Maori New Year.

"This was an incredibly successful event that was organised with the intent to share our learning with our community and to get together as a community to celebrate, share kai and to spend time with our whanau and friends," school cultural co-ordinator and event organiser Cat Allen says.

For the past two weeks, in preparation for the celebration, the children made kites and learnt a range of traditional songs and prayers.

"The children in the kapa haka group have been preparing for this event all term," Miss Allen said.

During the celebration story- teller and teacher Lesley Dowding captivated the children with a tale she had written about a taniwha that lives in South Taranaki.

Each year, around June, the stars of Matariki and Puanga signal the end of one year in Aotearoa and the start of the next, Miss Allen explains.

The children have learnt about the traditions of stargazing and why they were important to Maori.

"It is important for children to have an understanding of the past and past traditions."

Celebrations for this event, one of the oldest in the country, can last several weeks.

"The whole school began learning about Matariki and Puanga during week seven and we will continue to celebrate it through to the end of the term," she says.

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