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Learning about Waitangi Day

07 Feb 2019

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Today we gathered around to talk about a special event. I asked the children “Do you know why we were not at kindy yesterday? Yesterday was a very special day for New Zealand.” Stella said “We have to stay at home to spend time with our families.” Hughie shared with his friends “It’s Waitangi Day.” Hughie was at Waitangi yesterday and told us how the special event was celebrated. “There’s a waka” he said. “A waka is a boat,” Kole proudly told everyone.

We took out our magic waka and paddles and went back in time when our first ancestors arrived in New Zealand. We rowed the waka with the help of our Chief Hughie, Chief Laylah and Chief Liam. While in the waka, we saw a piece of land that we now call Aotearoa (New Zealand). In New Zealand, the Maori people settled and built their dwellings and meeting houses (marae).


A few years after, another group of boat people arrived and wanted to stay in New Zealand as well. They have reached Waitangi and talked to the Chief and Maori people. They had an agreement that the new boat people can stay if everyone will agree to be kind to each other, take care of the people, land and water and work together. The deal was signed and that’s why we have The Treaty of Waitangi and we have a special celebration called Waitangi Day.

At BestStart Regent Kindy, we also have a treaty. We went back to our Treaty Tree and reviewed our special agreement: 
1. use kind hands and words
2. use walking feet inside
3. share and play nicely
4. look after our friends,toys, plants and centre 
5. listen to one another and take turns.                                                               

We signed our treaty with our red thumb prints.

This active storytelling with our children helped us better understand the special events that led to the signing of The Treaty of Waitangi, a historical event that’s part of our identity as people of New Zealand. We were also able to have a wananga on how we can apply the principles of the treaty in our own simple ways everyday.