A group of students were working to promote Māori culture at Cambridge High School last week. Te Wiki o tea o Māori was a week-long celebration of te reo and Māori culture organised by the Year 12 and 13 student committee Te Hunga Tai Kākā, which ran activities and events each day at lunch time.
“This event ties in with Matariki, but throughout the year we’re working to promote Māori culture within the school, with both junior and senior students, we’re getting everyone involved,” student organiser Sirtori Eade explained.
Approximately 20 student and a few staff members gathered in the school’s old gym on Monday to learn Te Mau Rākua, an ancient Maori martial art, learning a sequence which was once used as a simple self-defence routine.
“We’re hoping students will learn that there is a different side to Maori culture,” said Sirtori.
“There is more to Maori culture than just kapahaka, like learning Maori weaponry today for example. There’s lots more to it that people don’t know about.”
Student organisers Israel Waetford, Taela Marsh, Tanika Aoake and Benton Callaghan organised last Monday’s event with the help of te reo teacher Matua Mahaki who led the class.
Other students on the Te Hunga Tai Kākā committee took turns to organise and run events throughout the week. It included a Māori quiz on Tuesday, traditional Māori games like tukua, featherhead, “Maui and Matau” on Wednesday, the ball sport Kī-o-rahi on Thursday, and wrapping up on Friday with a hangi.
“We hope it makes students want to learn more and get involved as much as they can,” Sirtori said.
“We’re trying to show the different sides of the Maori culture and promote Māori culture in a positive light.”