Youngsters get chance to embrace Maori culture

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Waiata . . . Glenview Kindergarten pupils at last year's Korohi O Te Pepi (Singing of the Babies) festival at the Caroline Bay Hall. PHOTO: COURIER FILES

Nineteen early childhood education centres will be showcasing their skills at Korohi o Te Pepi, the South Canterbury early childhood kapa haka and performing and visual arts event, today (Friday, October 18).

Organised by Ka Toi Maori o Aoraki Incorporated Society, which also runs cultural festival Flava, Korohi o Te Pepi is an annual event for tamariki and Early Childhood Education (ECE) centres to celebrate te ao Maori through te reo, waiata, kapa haka and visual arts.

When Flava was first introduced in South Canterbury ECE also took part. The continued increase in participation by ECE and the great support from whanau attending on the day resulted in the development of Korohi o Te Pepi specifically for ECE.

This was initiated in 2015 and continued to strengthen each year, Kathy Campbell, chairwoman of Ka Toi Maori o Aoraki Incorporated Society, said.

“It is fantastic to have two opportunities in recent weeks for tamariki and rangatahi to celebrate Te Ao Maori [the world of Maori]. Korohi o Te Pepi is always well supported by early childhood education centres and their whanau. Community members are also encouraged to come along.”

Korohi o Te Pepi 2019 is the largest year yet with 19 ECE taking part.

Head teacher at Little Wonders Otipua Rd and member of Ka Toi Maori o Aoraki, Laura Donaldson, said tamariki and their teachers had been preparing for Korohi o Te Pepi for many months.

“We integrate te reo, waiata and learning about Te Ao Maori into our teaching programme. Korohi o Te Pepi provides an opportunity to share our learnings with our community and to celebrate with other ECE. The children are really excited about taking part.”

Key organisations involved in the set-up have provided staff and resources to prepare for Korohi o Te Pepi. These are: Arowhenua Whanau Service who are the Maori health and wellbeing providers for Arowhenua Rohe which includes Te Putahitanga navigators in Tinana, Mokopuna and Whanau Ora; representatives from Te Runanga o Arowhenua; ECE Leaders Group; South Canterbury Primary Principals’ Association; the new Education Trust, He Manu Hou and Wave (Wellbeing and Vitality in Education) which is a partnership between education settings and health organisations for children and young people, initiated in 2006 by Community and Public Health and the South Canterbury District Health Board.

The events have been sponsored by Te Puni Kokiri, Creative Communities NZ, Te Runanga o Arowhenua, Te Runanga o Waihao, Te Aitarakihi Trust, Mid & South Canterbury Community Trust, Arowhenua Whanau Services, He Manu Hou Trust, and Alpine Energy.

Korohi o Te Pepi will be held at the Caroline Bay Hall, from 9am to 1pm.