Students at Northcote Primary participate in a one hour te reo and tikanga Māori lesson with a specialist teacher each week in our own Northcote Primary 'whare'. Te Whare is a space used by everyone at Northcote Primary School. In Te Whare we keep our space clear of furniture so that we can use the space for singing, dancing, art and other activities. We also try to maintain cultural identity in this space by following the rules typical in a traditional wharenui:
1. No footwear to be worn inside Te Whare
2. No hats to be worn inside Te Whare
3. Always listen carefully to adults and other speakers
4. Always show respect to others
Our Te Whare lesson planning is underpinned by Te Aho Arataki Marau mō te Ako i Te Reo Māori – the Māori curriculum from the Ministry of Education. The majority of the children are working at Level 1 of the curriculum with the senior classes transitioning into some areas of Level Two. Both te reo Māori and tikanga Māori are taught hand in hand, so the children develop an authentic and deeper understanding of the meaning behind what they are learning and why. Within each classroom, our teachers also use the Te Whare planning to inform their own use of te reo Māori in their classroom and to provide cohesion throughout the school.
Learning in Te Whare comes in many forms through waiata, stories (including myths and legends), visual arts and drama (role-play). We also recognise all the significant Māori celebrations like Matariki and Māori Language week. The children are involved in many routines and responsibilities to help with the running of Te Whare such as changing the calendar, leading karakia and caring for their learning space in the context of kaupapa Māori (not eating or drinking in Te Whare and shoes off when entering).