Examine Te Ao Maori in Ece

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The purpose of this essay is to examine Te Reo Māori, Tikanga Māori, the Treaty of Waitangi/Te Tiriti ō Waitangi and how early childhood educators can support the inclusion of Te Ao Māori and Māori cultural knowledge within the early childhood setting. Te ao Māori can be defined as how Māori view the world. It encompasses the Māori cultures beliefs of the universe, how they came into existence, the Gods, Te Reo, Tikanga, Marae and access to whānau, hapū and iwi (Durie, 2005). The Māori Creation myth is the foundation of the Māori world view. It begins with Te Kore – The Nothingness, which evolves into Ahorangi and Ihorangi the female and male potentiality. These potentialities combined and Ranginui, the Sky Father and Papa-tū-ā-nuku, the Earth Mother were created. (Hyland, 2003). Through the birth of their children Te Pō – The Darkness begins. The children of Papa and Rangi were numerous and lived in the darkness between their parents. The children decided to separate them so they could stand and grow. They took turns in trying to separate them, but it was Tāne-mahuta who succeeded in fixing the sky above and the earth below, thus allowing Te Ao Mārama, the world of light to begin (Hyland, 2003). The creation myth is relevant to New Zealand early childhood education as this story effectively tells the story of all the children we teach, who are the creation of life. The myth is also the foundation of Whakapapa, which is how a Māori individual identifies their genealogy of his whanau, hapū (sub-tribe) or iwi (tribe), in relation to the Gods, the world and their ancestors (Matiu & Mutu. 2003). Māori myths and legends are valuable to early childhood education as they help children to learn and have an understanding of Te Ao Māori. The values and virtues expressed in the myths and legends are associated with the processes and beliefs of the Māori culture (Patterson, 2000). The Family and Community and Relationship principles of Te Whāriki support the building of responsive and reciprocal relationships for children and their whanau/families that relate learning to the wider world and recognize the significance of Te Tiriti ō Waitangi and reflect the multicultural society of New Zealand (Ministry of Education [MOE], 1996. p.42-43). Te reo Māori is the language through which Māori express a Māori world view. According to Māori legend, te reo was contained in one of the three ‘kete matauranga’ – kits of knowledge, and given to the people by Tane the God of the forest. It is a gift of the Gods, therefore is considered ‘taonga’, a treasure and is to be protected (Matiu & Mutu. 2003). Te reo Māori is an oral tradition and the survival of the language is enhanced by the promotion and inclusion of te reo Māori in early childhood settings. Te reo Māori can be nurtured and encouraged in everyday situations to create a positive linguistic environment for children in an early childhood setting (Chrisp, 2002). Māori greetings can be incorporated into early childhood settings, as well as teachers and children learning waiata and karakia that allow te reo Māori to remain as a taonga (Barlow, 1991). Te Whāriki supports te reo Māori through the communication strand, Goal 2; “Children develop an appreciation of te reo as a living and relevant language” (MOE, 1996. p.76). Tikanga are the Māori customs and traditions that have been handed down through the generations. Māori established a system of rules and principles, or Kaupapa, to guide their actions throughout all aspects of life (Ka’ai, T. M. 2004). Tikanga is an integral part of Māori and tikanga practices and rituals are adhered to when a hui is taking place on a marae. A traditional karanga is extended by an older Māori woman to the manuhiri, as they move onto the marae. Formal speeches, whaikōrero, take place; they are spoken by the men and usually alternate between the tangata whenua and manuhiri. At the end of whaikōrero a koha is given by the manuhiri and a...
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