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Kidsfirst Chief Executive Honoured with Pākē


It was a special moment for Kidsfirst Kindergartens Chief Executive, Sherryll Wilson, when she was  presented with a new pākē (cloak) by the association's Kaiako Māori group. 


The Kaiako Māori group gifted the cloak to Ms Wilson to acknowledge her guardianship over the Kidsfirst network and the kindergarten community throughout challenging times.


Traditional pākē were developed by Māori as everyday garments that  protect against bad weather by channelling the rain off, using hundreds of leaf strips woven onto the garment.


Kathy Harford, Head Teacher of Kidsfirst Phillipstown and a member of Kaiako Māori, who made the cloak,  explained its significance at Kidsfirst's AGM. 



The bright blue cloak was woven by Kathy on behalf of the kaiako of Kidsfirst to show Sherryll their respect and gratitude.


"The blue is symbolic of water, the life force - something we can't survive without," Kathy says. "All life needs water, just as all tamariki need ECE."


Blue is the colour of both water and the sky and associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, expansiveness, inspiration and sensitivity.


"Blue is considered to be beneficial to both the mind and body and is said to slow the human metabolism and produce a calming effect," Kathy says. 


Meanwhile, the paua on the cloak symbolises all the colours of childhood, and every child's uniqueness and beauty. 


Māori believe the Paua will bring connectivity and harmony to relationships. The way the colours of the shell shift in the light is also a symbol of change and transition in Māori culture.


The collar or mantle represents the mantle the Chief Executive carries, the responsibilities and trust the organisation puts in them, says Kathy.



A hock hidden away on the inside of the cloak is there to remind the wearer that they have inner strength that they can tap into, especially in challenging situations. 


Sherryll spoke of her humility at being honoured with he cloak, and acknowledged the important new legacy it brought to the network and how it will be treasured by those who lead Kidsfirst Kindergartens in the future. 


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