On the 26th of February 2018 we were lucky enough to have two professionals come to our school to teach us about traditional waka and the constellations and navigation of stars. In the hall one of the professionals bought in an ‘air tent’ which inside, was a small projector with stars and constellations lighting up the ceiling. Brody Cooke from room 2 described the scene as “absolutely beautiful.”
We interviewed the 43 year old professional, who worked at a university as a lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, who had been working there for 20 years. She said that her goal was to “teach about Māori astronomical knowledge and navigation. I want them to learn about the different Māori gods, because we don't really learn about them. When I was growing up we didn't get that opportunity. I want to share our traditional knowledge with students and communities, and Pasifika because we are also a part of them too.” She said that her favourite part of her job was making all the kids go “wow”. She amazed us with a really inspiring motto: “Find your passion and don’t let others ‘cloud’ your dreams.”
Back inside, the other professional was describing the waka and how it worked. She described what the hull did, and the surroundings you will be in if you ever went on the waka. She also included how ‘if you take care of the waka, then the waka will take care of you.’ Even though they don’t have have proper equipment they managed to make amazing food like their own donuts, pancakes and even KFC chicken. WOW!!! The first thing they did was making an ‘imaginary’ compass using their minds.
I hope a lot of the pupils learnt about travelling in a waka and constellations and navigation on the high seas.
By Amy Teekman and Sharanyaa Sathiyajith