Ngā Kākano o Matariki: Seeds of Matariki

Ngā Kākano o Matariki / Seeds of Matariki, an exhibition of selected works by students of Ngā Kākano Reo e Rua Kura is currently on display at the West Auckland Research Centre, J T Diamond Reading Room, Level 2, Waitakere Central Library, Henderson  from 16 July to 27 July.

Seeds were planted in the minds of local rangatahi (youth) this Matariki, during two wānanga held at the West Auckland Research Centre, celebrating Māori New Year. Students from Ngā Kākano Christian Kura Reo E Rua attended two environmental presentations at Waitakere Central Library, then produced art work based on what they had learned.

Their prints celebrating our relationship with Papatūānuku, our earth mother, have blossomed into a celebrated body of work in the sanctuary of the J T Diamond exhibition space. Ngā Kākano o Matariki / Seeds of Matariki exhibition is on display for the following weeks as Matariki Celebrations conclude and te wiki o te reo Māori, Māori language week begins.

He kākano ahau i ruia i Rangiatea.
I am a seed which was sewn in the heavens of Rangiatea.

Traditionally Matariki was a time when people came together, when tribal traditions and teachings were passed from one generation to the next through the whare wānanga (houses of learning).

It was a time of kōtahitanga (unity) and information sharing, reflection on the past and preparation for the future. Our ancestors gathered together inside to keep warm by the fires, waiata were composed and stories were shared, outside the whenua was prepared in anticipation of Spring.

In keeping with this information sharing tradition guest speakers Mahuru Robb (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Pūkeko) and Kani Te Pōtiki Manukura (Ngāi Tūhoe ) were invited to present at Waitakere Central Library, looking at the theme - Te toto me te kiko o Papatūānuku / The blood and the flesh of Papatūānuku - her waterways and whenua (land).

Mahuru (BSc Zoology, Ecology) spoke specifically on the subject of tuna (eels) and their relationship to the land, waterways and the sea. She raised awareness about how what put on the land often ends up in the water through storm water, treated waste water, industrial discharge and farming effluent.
Ref: Mahuru Robb, West Auckland Research Centre
She touched on some of the challenges tuna face today through land use, loss of habitat, draining of wetlands, pollution, sedimentation, deforestation and over fishing.  She also covered what we can do to help - by being informed, researching and sharing knowledge with others.

Ref: Kani Te Potiki Manukura, West Auckland Research Centre
Kani (BA Hons Museums & Cultural Heritage) believes what we choose to eat can enslave us and poison Papatūānuku, or it can help empower us and heal her. He spoke on the relationship between the land, people and food production connecting the relationship of kai and health to our bodies and the body of mother earth.

He showed examples of tradition Māori tools for gardening which he has made and uses today on Taunga Kererū, a farm in Whāingaroa (Raglan) where he is currently completing a Permaculture apprenticeship.

Following on from these wānanga, artist Natalie Couch (Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa) delivered a print-making workshop with the students on site at their school. The students had the opportunity to re-visit and re-interpret what they had learned at the Library and express their own thoughts through on the topics. They used symbols to illustrate their whakaaro (thoughts) and created a series of prints.

Ref: Students making art, West Auckland Research Centre
Natalie (BFA Print making) guided the students through the process of designing, transferring and cutting vinyl, mixing inks and finally printing out their images, in readiness for display to the public in the Library’s exhibition space.
Ref: Natalie Couch teaching students, West Auckland Research Centre
Matariki atua, ka eke mai i te rangi e roa e
Whāngai iho ki te mata o te tau, e roa e.
Divine Matariki, come hither from the distant heavens,
Bestow the first fruits of the year upon us.

This week the show opened and the first fruits of the new year were celebrated. Attended by Senior School of Ngā Kākano Kura Reo e Rua and Tumuaki (principal) Te Rangi Allen (Ngā Puhi) the opening of the exhibition was sanctified with a blessing of the space and whakatau by Kaumataua Stan Kukutai (Tainui, Ngāti Whātua).

Ref: Exhibition opening, West Auckland Research Centre
Koro Stan offered an interpretation in English of his karakia, explaining it spoke of Tāne Mahuta (God of the Forest), the ngahere (bush) and rongoā (healing). Koro Stan shared his memories of eeling on the Waikato river, singing and laughter warmed the Library and special wairua filled the West Auckland Research Centre. 

The seeds of Matariki have been germinated. Our student’s prints and a series of photographs documenting the wānanga and art making process, as well as a live recording of the school singing their Matariki waiata (composed by head boy Mohi Allen) now embellish our space.

Stories have been told, friendships made, relationships strengthened and the knowledge of how we can best care for Papatūānuku- and each other has been gifted. These are the Seeds of Matariki and this is the beginning of our New Year.

Author: Rachelle Forbes, West Auckland Research Centre


  1. Ka mau te wehi!

  2. tino pai te waiata e tito ana a Mohi, he ataahua. i kitea au i te whakaaturan'a inanahi - pai rawa te mahi toi o n'a ran'atahi.
    n'a mihi mahana e hoa, ko te kaiwhakahaere o te kaupapa nei.
    na Kani


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