Magical Matariki – Night Farm School 2019

A Magical Matariki Farm School tale with stars and dreams and unicorns was woven last week. 

Always a highlight of our Gems Farm School Calendar, Night Farm School has evolved to incorporate Matariki celebrations.

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter and for many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year. Traditionally, it was a time for remembering the dead, and celebrating new life. In the 21st century, observing Matariki is becoming a prominent fixture in New Zealand’s winter calendar. Although we are too far south to observe this cluster of stars, this does not dampen our spirits in our marking of this traditional Maori custom.

Preparations and excitement begins well before the night itself. At Farm School the children have been reading the Seven Kites of Matariki and like the seven sisters in the story, building their own kites. This includes collecting the sticks to make their kite frames and then decorating them with  traditional sea shell eyes and rainbow colours. These kites were proudly adorning the ceiling of the Farm School shed on the night for our children to show their whanau.

Twilight at the farm saw our intrepid four year olds and their parents wrapped up warm against the winter chill and armed with torches meeting together for a mug of hearty kumara and pumpkin soup. Prepared by the tamariki earlier that day this soup fortifies everyone for an evening of explorations.

Morgan and Inga led our whanau in a karakia to commence proceedings before leading our party on a trail of night time discovery around the Farm. Prior to the evening the children had discussed what they might see on their adventure. Possums, cows, unicorns, sheep, wolves, night tigers and chickens having dinner were all on the ‘possible sighting’ list. Now, how many of these were actually spotted on their adventures couldn’t be confirmed however…. there was a confirmed encounter with a magical creature who graciously joined everyone for a warming snack back at the farm yard.

Children and their parents were then invited to share a goal or dream on their own Matariki Star and display on the wall of wishes for the coming new year.

As everyone departed at the end of the evening heading for toasty warm beds the magic of the night still resonates. It resonates not just in the wide eyed wonderment of children seeing something they had only dreamt of. The true magic resonates in our Gems tamariki gathering with friends and family, sharing adventures and discoveries, sharing kai, sharing laughter and making memories. Now that’s the real magic of Matariki.