On Tuesday the 13th of August six centres from the wider Dunedin area met at Araiteuru for a morning at the marae. We had a great turnout and thankfully the weather held and allowed for a smooth start to the day.

The pōwhiri began at 9.30am with Vicky Totoro calling us on and Tom Macfarlane welcoming us with his whaikōrero. I was our kaikaranga and we were thankful to have the support of Neihana Matiu as our kaikōrero.

After the completion of the pōwhiri we had a large range of activities for parents to participate in with their children. The activities were run in a similar manner to Playcentre where everything was child-led. The interactive stories seemed to be a real hit along with a range of waiata and kēmu. Elizabeth Clark, a past member of Opoho Playcentre, brought her senior reo Māori class from Bayfield High School along to support the kaupapa and help run the activities. We then had a shared kai and clean up.

It was great to see all the layers of learning being experienced throughout the day. From our pēpi, tamariki and whānau, who this was their first experience of a pōwhiri, to the high school students and whānau with reo who were given a space to practice, use and extend on their knowledge, to the more experienced kaiawhīna who were involved in the kitchen and worked hard to support in the running of the day.

Mā pango, mā whero ka oti te mahi. It was a fantastic day made possible by a large group of us all coming together and working together. There were many connections built, both in the community, to the marae and amongst ourselves. We look forward to a similar opportunity in the future.

By Sacha Harbott