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Engaging in the Spirit of Maori Cultural Traditions

by Trish Thomas, Roimata Rokx, and Ra Keelan
March/April 2017
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Article Link: http://exchangepress.com/article/engaging-in-the-spirit-of-maori-cultural-traditions/5023462/

Cultural traditions offer opportunities for young children to imitate their elders, to lend a hand, and to be actively involved in meaningful practices that have been passed down through generations. By watching, listening, and engaging in rituals and traditions, children experience a strong sense of cultural identity and belonging, and in doing so honour the security of their culture into the future. Honouring traditions is also arguably a responsibility of all teachers of young children in order to positively support and sustain all cultures represented in their early childhood community. This article begins to explore the origins of four Māori cultural traditions: te reo Māori (the Māori language); waiata (songs and singing); pūrākau (stories); and mihimihi and pepeha (greetings and introductions). All four of these important elements of Māori culture are a means of transmitting knowledge (mautauranga Māori) and support the expression of cultural values (tikanga Māori). An explanation of how teachers support these traditions with children is outlined in the article, along with reflective prompts that can be applied to a range of early childhood settings and cultural contexts. 

The traditions of Māori (Indigenous people of New Zealand) are valued as taonga (treasures). Each tradition has its own origins and history that early childhood teachers need to connect with and understand before planning ...

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