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Expressions of whakawhetai (gratitude) 

Supporting tamariki to think about those around them who are special and think about how we can acknowledge those people

Firstly, the science...

Taking the time to write a heartfelt card to someone holds profound benefits that extend beyond the card and kupu. It conveys both whakawhetai and thankfulness but also serves as a lasting reminder of the positive impact that person has had on your life. This is really connecting and strengthens relationships and carries an aroha-filled personal touch that resonates.

Why this activity?

Because it’s quiet, reflective and conjures up all the goodness that gratitude offers. 

You'll need

To print one (or more) of the Expressions of Whakawhetai cards for each of your ākonga.

Colouring pens or pencils

Perhaps some other art resources - stickers, glitter… just to make the cards super cute!

What to do

You might want to explain the benefits of whakawhetai before the activity, or you might just want tamariki to turn their hand to colouring their card and complete it, and that’s perfectly kei te pai. It might be interesting to ask tamariki on a scale of 1 to 5 how they’re feeling before completing their cards, and repeat this once they’re finished. 


Some of your tamariki might want to find the overall score difference and then you might kōrero about this. We would hope the scores to increase and we could then attribute this to gratitude, but in any case the kōrero would be a really good one and provide some great feedback on the things tamariki have enjoyed, or might need changing for next time.


Be sure to have tamariki tuck the cards into their bags to take home and give out to their rightful owners. We’re pretty certain they’ll be stoked!

Whānau engagement

Feel free to send the link to the cards for whānau - they might love this for other events and special people.

And to add to this...

If it’s a tired time of year, perhaps finish with some puku breathing outside, or if it’s late in the day and something energising is needed, we’re big fans of a good game of Lape.

Curriculum links

Health and PE Curriculum

Personal health and physical development: A4 - Personal identity

Relationships with other people: C1 - Relationships

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