We have talked extensively about Matariki with the children and had been preparing for the big night for many days. The children had spent lots of time leading up to the night making beautiful lanterns, salt-dough stars and a himmeli (a traditional Finnish straw decoration) to adorn our Kindergarten with. It looked fantastic on the night – almost unrecognisable.
We had so many people take part in the celebration – lots of families, friends, uncles, aunts, grandparents and siblings - it was just wonderful. We started the evening with a shared kai and the chance for friends and Whanau to catch up with one another.
As the night grew darker, the anticipation rose and it grew more and more exciting. It was finally time for the much awaited lantern parade. One by one all the children collected the lanterns they had made at Kindergarten, with a small tea light lit inside. When we were all ready, everyone went on a parade along the street accompanied by Kim and Christine playing and singing ‘this little light of mine’ on their ukuleles. The parade looked stunning in the dark.
On arriving back at Kindergarten, we cozied up around the fire for a sing-a-long with Glenn and John, and toasted marshmallows. It was a great evening, thank you everyone.
"Tera Matariki huihui ana mai"
"Yonder in the skies you have witnessed Pleiades, grouped together".
A traditional Maori proverb referencing the Matariki star cluster lighting up the sky.
Since then we have had the chance to ask the children what their favourite part of the night was. Here of some of their answers:
Dihansa - "The circle around the fire"
Hvar - "Marshmallows and playing in the night"
Juliet - "Going for a walk"
Azariah - "Holding lanterns on our walk, having marshmallows and playing in the dark"
Detroit - "Lighting the dark away"
Brearna - "I like the part when my friend Annalise and my mum and my brother came"
Xander - "My favourite part was when we had the lantern walk and marshmallows and when I came home I saw my lantern wasn't out"
Briah-Rose - "Playing out in the dark, cause I was scared"
Kye - "Going home and my favourite part was I had the lantern in the bath with my cousin"
Sam Heaton - "The fire and singing. I loved that fire"
We have also asked for some feedback from our families – here is what some of them said:
"What an incredible night, It reminded me of camping as a child. What a wonderful family occasion - very special. Thanks so much"
"Fantastic night! Has so much fun, both kids and adults in our family had a blast. Thanks so much"
"Loved the lantern walk around the street and the sing-a-long around the fire"
"Perfect night - simple, fun, original. We've got a friend staying with us who came last night, she left saying that is the coolest Kindy I've ever been to - I want to be a Kindergarten teacher"