Bringing manaakitanga to life
Manaakitanga is a concept that comes to life every day at Kidsfirst.
Loosely translating to “hospitality”, the idea is focused on extending aroha to others by showing kindness and compassion.
It’s one of the most important concepts in Māori culture, as it secures the strength of whānau and deep roots in the community. Showing generosity, kindness, and appreciation of others resonates daily through the learning and actions of tamariki.
Whether it’s one small act a day, or a grand gesture – everyday kindergarten interactions offer many opportunities for tamariki to practice, with encouragement from kaiako.
The first few months of 2021 have been a busy time for our Kidsfirst whānau, with events like Valentine's Day and Heart Kids' Little Heart Day putting the spotlight on Manaakitanga.
At Kidsfirst Richmond, tamariki showed their support for children born with heart disease through gold-coin donations, dressing in red, making heart-themed arts and crafts and baking cookies.
Valentine’s Day – also in February – is always popular with tamariki, who enjoy the opportunity to get creative and spread the aroha. At Kidsfirst Beckenham, the kindergarten baked special pink scones to celebrate.
Teacher Helen Peters said tamariki had a blast making their Valentine’s Day treats.
"The children made cards and then special ‘love heart’ scones for their whānau. We used the beetroot from our garden to make them pink. Everyone helped and took some home to share.”
Manaakitanga was front and centre at Kidsfirst The Bays when their brooding hen hatched an egg she had been laying on, just in time for Easter. Tamariki arrived back after the long weekend to discover the new arrival, and have been looking after the new chick, observing its growth and watching its changing colours with great enthusiasm.
The Bays is just one of many of our Kidsfirst kindergartens that have pets. Teacher Liza Hewison says caring for animals gives tamariki opportunities to grow manaakitanga, and also teaches them that making the effort pays off.
“We have three chickens, and tamariki were delighted to have a fourth to care for. The whole experience highlighted another idea we work hard to promote: if you do the mahi, you get the treats.”
Kidsfirst Rutland Street also combined manaakitanga and mahi when they had their annual Christmas Market last year. Tamariki got to practice their business skills, and one child, Bede, took it one step further by donating the proceeds from his stall to the Christchurch City Mission.
Bede and his sister decided to donate the money, after they realised not every child would be given gifts for Christmas. They delivered their cheque to the City Mission, and really highlighted what the spirit of manaakitanga is all about.