Our Playcentre group was able to visit the marae on the navy base here in Devonport (link). We have seen the outside of many beautiful maraes here in New Zealand, but we had never gone inside one, except one at the Auckland Museum, until today. Before entering, we waited outside the entry of the grounds and were introduced. We were then called in with a lovely song. All of the introduction and welcoming were given in Maori. I think I understood about 15 words of the entire 15 mins, but I am pretty sure I wasn't the only one who was just listening to the cadence of the voices. Most Kiwis I know here in New Zealand don't speak a lot of Maori, but thankfully the language is making a resurgence. Teaching young children about Maori culture and language is a large part of the movement.
After we were welcomed, we all sang a Maori song in response.
|Pakipaki, pakipaki, tamariki ma(x2)|
Kanikani, kanikani, tamariki ma (2)
Rere, rere, rere, rere, tamariki ma(x2)
Peke, peke, peke, peke, tamariki ma (x2)
Hurihuri, hurihuri, tamariki ma (x2)
Hikoi, hikoi, hikoi, hikoi, tamariki ma(x2)
Oma, oma, oma, oma, tamariki ma (x2)
Titiro, titiro, tamariki ma (x2)
E moe, e moe, tamariki ma (x2 )
Pakipaki, pakipaki, tamariki ma (x2)
|Clap, clap children.|
Max and Maya didn't know all the words, but they know a lot of them and they like to sing this song at home. They are both learning a little bit of Maori from Playcentre and watching New Zealand made kids shows. The other day, Maya used the Maori word for hands (ringaringa) without prompting. They also know several other words too. Max's favorite books right now is "The Waka" and he will often repeat the phrase Haere mai ki te waka (Come on to the waka) while talking about several animals that are endemic to New Zealand.
The marae that we visited is located next to the Navy practice fields, which are adjacent to a beautiful estuary. Max was a little disappointed that he wasn't able to see a waka there as he assumed that this was what the New Zealand Navy would use.
We were told stories about the people depicted in statues around the marae.
The kids tried to act out some of the stories that were being told.
More about visiting a marae: http://ethniccommunities.wainet.org/nz_maori_4.htm