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Big and positive emotions with
Te Whare Tapa Whā

Here's a selection of suggestions and ideas that could bring some magic to your wiki with some activities that have a focus on positive emotions and how we might go about evoking them.

Firstly, the science...

We thought it might be easier to let Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto and the director of the Health, Emotions, and Altruism Lab (HEAL) kōrero about the science as part of their Ted Talk

Why this activity?


It’s a nice idea to really focus in on positive emotions and note the difference they make, and how we might go about evoking them.

You'll need

Your awesome emotion-filled tamariki!

To print the Strengths Graph-O-Meter (page 1 and page 2), ready for Tāite (Thursday).

What to do

Kōrero about Te Whare Tapa Whā and the pou (taha tinana, taha hinengaro, taha whānau, taha wairua, whenua) that contribute to our hauora and that this wiki you’ll be looking at how we might evoke positive emotions around each of these parts of our hauora. 


Explain that sometimes we get really ‘caught’ on emotions that are big, but feel overwhelming, sad or negative. But this wiki you're going to see if you can evoke and catch emotions that are still big but feel really great -  and in relation to each pou of Te Whare Tapa Whā - one emotion per day. 


Mane - Taha Tinana - Run around and laugh!

This is silly and funny, but should genuinely be loads of fun even if initially your tamariki think you’re ridiculous!

Take your tamariki outside and simply ask that they run around, in a set space dodging their classmates, then ask them to continue doing this but to try laughing at the same time! Ask that they continue this, then join with their friends and run and laugh in groups, then as a whole class running, laughing tribe!

End on a high note (and while you can!).

Ask tamariki to reflect on what they noticed and you might want to research the positive effects of laughter, and that it can be contagious!


Tūrei - taha hinengaro - Notice Tamanuiterā (Rā)

This activity is more reflective, but should still support tamariki to feel wonder, connectedness and perhaps a sense of serenity.

Ask that they sit quietly outside together, perhaps in a circle, noticing what is around them and soaking this in.

As they notice you might explain that we are of the land and it is part of us. Ask them to notice:

  • The hugeness of the sky - Ranginui

  • The coolness of the ground - Papatūānuku 

  • Tamanuiterā (Rā) and where he warms us - hone in on this, where Rā is on our skin, notice that warmth. 

End on this quiet note and after giving tamariki time to sit with the warmth from te Rā. Ask them to share what they noticed, and explore what emotions these might be. The word that we know for the feeling we have from the warmth of the sun in winter is ‘apricity’ - isn't that cool?

Head back to research all the emotions that te Rā and te taiao supports us with.

Kōrero about why this is important.


Wenerei - taha wairua - peer through the leaves of rākau

Kōrero with tamariki about what they understand of wairua - this might mean they need some time to look it up. It will be particularly important for tamariki to think about how their wairua is supported - what things support this (values, beliefs, mindfulness, nature)?

Let them know this activity is all about supporting their wairua as a quiet activity where they tune into all their 5 senses - smell, touch, see, hear, taste.

Ask tamariki to move apart for this activity and sit under any rākau. Ask that for 2 minutes they look up at Rangi, through the leaves and branches of their rākau and tune in to their senses.

Then bring your tamariki back together and kōrero about their experience and any emotions they felt as part of this.

Explore what shared experiences and emotions did they have, despite being apart? What does this tell them about their connectedness?

You might like to link this to a literacy activity, invite your tamariki back inside to write, draw, or record what they noticed. 


Tāite - taha whānau - search for each other’s strengths

Print off a Strengths Graph-o-Meter worksheet (page 1 and page 2) for each ākonga. Ask tamariki to identify their own strengths as part of this and reflect on how they use these.  


Ask tamariki to gather together in a circle with their worksheets. Clearly kōrero about this activity being created in order to support positive emotions, so an opportunity to be kind, generous and thoughtful with what they say and write. Ask tamariki to pass their worksheets to their right so they have someone else’s. Ask that they reflect on their peer and their strengths and identify their top 5 strengths marking these on the graph-o-meter. They might also want to tick or support what tamaiti have identified as their own strengths, if these have also been shared. 

Once the graph-o-meters are returned to their owners you might allow them time to digest this, then kōrero about any emotions they’re feeling and why this might be particularly important. Ask tamariki to notice how simple this was but how good it can make others feel. Kōrero about why this is powerful.


You might also like to use this data for further discoveries -

  • What is your top strength as a class?

  • What are the top 3 strengths of your class?

  • Why might this be?

  • How can they continue to use these for good?

Paraire - whenua - on the hunt for signs of kōanga (spring)

Ask tamariki to head outside and seek out the signs of kōanga. They might do this with a buddy.

How do we know that kōanga is coming? What can we notice?

Kōrero about what they noticed about being curious, how kōanga makes them feel, how being outside has made them feel?


Be sure to revisit any of the activities tamariki particularly enjoyed anytime.

Whānau engagement

It's likely tamariki will want to share their learning and strengths with whānau - encourage a kōrero where tamariki support this kōrero by identifying the strengths of members of their whānau.You might like to provide extra copies of the Strengths Graph-o-Meter worksheet home to support this. Or release tamariki strengths results through SeeSaw or Class Dojo.

And to add to this...

Now you've had a week of Te Whare Tapa Whā fun try Te Whare Tapa Whā a day at a time! Te Whare Tapa Whā a day at a time follows an advent calander approach for a whole month! Open a window each day to reveal a fun wellbeing activity that aligns with one or more aspects of Te Whare Tapa Whā. Otherwise, take a look at Embracing Te Reo Māori with Te Whare Tapa Whā - a whole wiki of fun and exciting activities supporting our learning of te reo Māori

Curriculum links

Health and PE Curriculum   

Personal Health and physical development: A1 - Personal growth and development  

Personal Health and physical development: A2 - Regular physical activity 

Relationships with other people: C1 - Relationships 

Relationships with other people: C2 - Identity, sensitivity, and respect 

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