Some iwi (tribes) celebrate Puanga rather than Matariki. Che Wilson of Whanganui iwi explains why this is the case, and which iwi celebrate Puanga.

‘Ko Puanga te pae ārahi i ngā tohu o te tau hou i te pae ururangi’

– ‘Puanga leads the celestial signs to herald the New Year.’

All iwi celebrate the Māori New Year in June or July, but not all iwi refer specifically to this time of year as Matariki. Instead, other iwi will name this time of year ‘Puanga’.

Why do some iwi look for Puanga?

Puanga is given prominence mainly because some iwi tribes struggle to see Matariki clearly from their locality and therefore look to the next important star near Matariki. That star is Puanga.

This is not a rejection of Matariki as many of these iwi will still refer to Matariki and the other names in the constellation in their tribal narratives, however Puanga is given preference.

The location of Puanga in the mid-winter sky

The location of Puanga in the mid-winter sky. From Work of the Gods(link is external) by Richard Hall

Which iwi celebrate Puanga?

The tribes of Whanganui, Taranaki, parts of the Far North, and parts of the South Island recognise Puanga.

What is Puanga?

Puanga is the star Rigel and is the brightest star in the Orion constellation. Matariki is seen below Puanga and to the left of Tautoru (the three stars of Orion’s Belt) in the late autumn and early winter night sky.

The most common whakataukīwhakataukīproverb that recognises the importance of Puanga is:

‘Puanga kai rau’ – ‘The abundant harvest of Puanga.’

This whakataukī connects Puanga and Matariki celebrations to the result of hard work over a number of months. It recognises the efforts of growing, harvesting, and storing food for the long nights of takuruatakuruawinter as TamanuiterāTamanuiterāsun god returns to his first wife HinetakuruaHinetakuruawinter maiden.

This union results in short days and long nights over the winter months. However, every year Māui recaptures Tamanuiterā, and he then marries his second wife HineraumatiHineraumatisummer maiden where the nights are short and the days are long as a result of summer – so it could be argued that Māui is the founder of daylight savings.

When is Puanga celebrated?

Puanga isn’t celebrated over one or two days, instead it is a period of approximately a month or longer with at least two months of preparation followed by two months of wānanga (learning).

The first new moon in the month of Pipiri (June-July) is the period when stars like Puanga, Matariki and WhānuiWhānuiVega set. This time is a chance to reflect on the past year and to remember your loved ones.

Puanga and Matariki then rises again in a fortnight in the eastern sky, this is the time to acknowledge the rising of our loved ones that have passed so that their spirits become stars and to prepare for the celebrations of the New Year.

The appropriate time to commence celebrations is based on the nights of abundance for your locality and some will recognise the nights of RākauRākaufull moon and others, the nights of Tangaroa – one week after full moon. This is to ensure that any food available is in abundance so that the hākarihākarifeast dedicated and celebrated in the name of Puanga is recognised appropriately.

The connection between the kererū and Puanga

The kererū kererū wood pigeonis synonymous with Puanga kai rau (noted above) because during this time of year the kererū is fat after eating the miro and tawa berries. The large amount of berries ferment in the bird’s stomach causing drunkenness – making the kererū very easy to catch.

Watercolour painting of a kererū

New Zealand Pigeon / kererū. (One-Half natural size) Plate 24. From the book: A history of the birds of New Zealand Vol. 1, 1888, by Johannes Keulemans. Te Papa (RB001304/024a)


This meant kererū were the food of choice during Puanga celebrations. The first bird was always given to the senior women of the whānau. The stomach of the kererū were also fed to expecting mothers to help quell any food cravings and to ensure that mother and unborn child were given the most nutritious foods.

Puanga and gardening activities

Māori woman gardening with a tool called a timo

Māori woman gardening with a timo, date unknown. Photograph by Lindsay Charles. Te Papa. Puanga is also a time to prepare the māramāragarden and ensure that winter frosts will help to kill any weeds or soil infections.

This time is likened to, and re-enacts, the creation period of Te Kore (the void/potential) and once the land has been treated, it will then go through a period of Te Pō (the night – or a time to plant). Then as the shoots of the food sprout above the soil, the plants transition into Te Ao Mārama (the world of light).

Like Matariki, Puanga is a time of reflection, preparation, learning, and celebration.

This article is straight from the amazing Te Papa – the museum of New Zealand


~ Note for Thai fans ~

ส่วนแฟนบล็อกที่ยังไม่เคยอ่านเรื่องนี้เลย ฉบับภาษาไทยดูที่นี่ค่ะ

The other day, while I was thinking to get something to put in the water bottle for Bhoom to shake for fun. I saw a plastic grocery bag next to me and then this idea popped up. I think.. well, give it a try.

With some trials and errors, my little jellyfish comes alive just like I thought it would be. : ) When daddy and son first saw it, they’re surprised with their jaws wide open. Then, I asked my hubby to take pictures for this DIY Jellyfish in a bottle.

Things you need to make your own jellyfish (Hope you can find all these in your kitchen) :

1. A transparent plastic grocery bag
2. A plastic water bottles.
3. Thread
4. Food coloring
5. ScissorsInstruction:
• Flatten the bag and cut off the handle and the bottom…

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Expressive symbolic play may fill a heuristic role in the small child’s attempt to assimilate events and feelings for which he does not yet have concepts or words.” ~ William M Schafer p.17

Some years ago now, William M Schafer wrote an article on the communicative (?) and meaning-making purpose(s) of symbolic play in children under 2 years of age. In spite of a great deal of supposition on the part of the adults in terms of what was going on inside the child’s mind, the write-up is interesting. I particularly enjoyed the introductory paragraph:

“The potential function of imaginative play in development has been described by a number of authors over the last several decades. Piaget (1951), Vygotsky (1967), and Werner and Kaplan (1 963) have each emphasized the role of play in extending the scope of intelligent activity from the here-and-now of sensorimotor cognition to the…

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This is an example of how one teacher has documented her registration journey

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Teachers Council ( is the professional and regulatory body for registered teachers working in early childhood centres.

The purpose of the NZTC is defined in the Education Act (1989) Section 139AA: “To provide professional leadership in teaching, enhance the professional status of teachers in schools and early childhood education, and contribute to a safe and high quality teaching and learning environment for children and other learners.”

One of the key functions of the Council is to set the standards to enter teaching and maintain ongoing membership of the profession. Teacher Registration is one of the paths the NZTC to support the provision of nationally consistent high quality teaching practice for re-registering teachers and provisionally registered teachers.

To support Provisionally Registered Teachers (PRTs) the Council shares guidelines for induction and mentoring available at:

To support re-registering teachers (RRTs) the Council offers information available at:

Some workplaces offer robust support for registering teachers within a framework of policy, a defined process and mentors for each teacher – PRT and RRT.

220px-Elwyn_Richardson        He toi whakairo he mana tangata

          Where there is artistic excellence there is human dignity

Elwyn Stuart Richardson, QSO (July 8, 1925 – 24 December, 2012), was a New Zealand educator. He is best known for his book In the Early World a record of the development of his educational philosophy while teaching at a small rural school in Northland during the 1950’s. Over thirteen years, from 1949 to 1962, Richardson developed his own philosophy of education. He discarded the official syllabus and turned instead to the children’s lives and immediate environment for the basis of his curriculum. Using the children’s natural curiosity and interest, Richardson taught them how to look closely at the world around them and to observe and record their new discoveries and their own responses to these. From here, he developed a dynamic programme anchored in the children’s surroundings and real lives. Through environmental study, the children learned the basis of scientific method, and brought these skills to bear on studies that spanned all subjects. It was a revolt away from science as a separate subject to an integrated programme of arts and science often using Māori legend as a medium for learning. On the strength of his early work, the school is granted ‘experimental status’ by Clarence Beeby, Director of Education, a special consideration that allowed him to develop his own teaching methods and curriculum largely unimpeded by school inspectors. Richardson is considered a significant figure in New Zealand education because of his own work and educational writings and the critical impact of his educational philosophy internationally. (Thanks to Dr Margaret MacDonald)


The messages from this PLD were:

  • Art is a tool for enquiry – is it being used to its full potential? Art influences who a person is and how they develop. Our appreciation of the world is active and not passive and there are limitations of language as a medium for children to express their understandings of the world around them, and art provides an opportunity for children to create their own symbols. There are close connections between the natural world and art as a vehicle for learning.
  • Geographical links are a context to find identity, the use of art to express that identity launches children on journeys of imagination. Teachers often do not understand the theoretical basis of their visual arts programme, there is a synergy and contradiction between practice and curriculum – a flourishing and constraining depending on teacher understandings.
  • NZCER research shared: Supporting future oriented learning and teaching: A NZ perspective, ( Research suggests at least six emerging principles to foster creativity and imagination in the 21st century :
  1.     personalised learning – one-size does not fit all
  2.    diversity is a strength, plurality is encouraged, to move easily between two worlds is a benefit
  3.    using current knowledge to build learning capacity and support changes in thinking
  4.    rethinking learner and teacher roles; supporting students to solve their own problems rather than rote learning facts
  5. continuous learning, creation of learning organisations, professional learning and networked learning communities
  6. More visible partnerships between schools and communities; so communities can understand 21st-century learning and why it matters
  • A reflective question from this research is how will ICT connect to the 6 themes and support art practices
  • Teachers work is curriculum and when seeking to understand teacher practice the teachers own ideas and questions are required. Teachers should be listening for things they do not know from children. Effective teachers understand their own values, their image of the child and reflect on the arts curriculum in their context. They know, understand and control curriculum – they understand very well how to create relevant curriculum in their context for all children, they also know how to report it to agencies and whānau. To focus heavily on numeracy and literacy devastates the arts curriculum in education. What informs authentic, situational learning practices in your context?
in the early world

Elwyn Richardson’s seminal work – In the early world

The speakers were Janita Craw, Victoria O’Sullivan, Professor Helen May, Rachel Bolstad, Associate Professor Nesta Devine, Ian Bowell, Sarah Probine, Dr Joce Jesson and Dr Margaret MacDonald

Save Our Schools NZ

Blame the teachers

Who is to blame that some students achieve less than others?

Is apportioning blame and pointing fingers actually helpful for anything other than head-line grabbing?

Admit it – did you click on this because of the headline, hoping for an easy answer?

Well there isn’t one.  It’s a complex issue.

Why we need to consider this

If you see an easy head-line friendly fix for these issues, prepare to sound the alarm.

The truth is, until we put vote-grabbing solutions aside, try to avoid the blame game, and look for genuine research on the issue and unpolitical, unhysterical, practical, research-based solutions, we won’t get very far.

It’s particularly pertinent given some are arguing that there is a long tail of under achievement comprising predominantly Maori and Pasifika students and that schools and teachers are to blame for this.  This argument is then used to promote policy changes such as the introduction of…

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