Friday, May 20, 2011

marae visit

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. 
This photo makes it looks like Max stood quietly listening to the stories.  In truth, while the stories interested him for a little while, he was also much more interested in running around (as were a lot of the kids).  I ended up spending a lot of the time trying keep my kids quiet and then trying not to lose them.

More about visiting a marae:

3rd birthday

Max and Maya celebrated their third birthday last week.  On Friday, we brought ice cream cone cupcakes to Playcentre to share with their friends.  I brought along the camera to take photos of the event but forgot to check if the sim card was in place (it wasn't).  So you will just have to trust me that they shared cupcakes with 15 of their friends.

Friday night, the kids helped me make pizza dough.
Then Saturday morning, the festivities continued.  We invited some friends over for pizza, cake and ice cream.  We decided against a big party with lots of 3 year olds.  I didn't think I would have had the energy to pull it off, and we knew Max and Maya would be just as thrilled with grown-ups and older kids giving them lots of attention.  The benefit for Lonnie and I is that we got to talk with friends without having to watch the kids closely.
We sang Happy Birthday to both the kids individually, so they each got their special moment.  They shared a cake with their favorite animal on each side, a zebra for Maya and a giraffe for Max.  
They both were able to blow out three candles on their side of the cake.
I am loving being the mom of 3 year olds.  Max and Maya love to play together.  Their imagination keeps them running around and entertained, pretending to be dogs, ponies, Care Bears or members of their own little family.  They also love to dance and sing and will often ask for an audience to come and enjoy the show.  They watch out for each other and I find them hugging or wrestling, or a combination of the both, often.  They love to talk and if given the opportunity will stay up for hours in their room at night talking to each other....I can't imagine what they have to say after spending all their time together throughout the day.