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Matariki kōhatu (stones)

A fun way of exploring the 9 whetū (stars) of Matariki all while creating a special Matariki kōhatu, complete with a wish for the year ahead. 

Firstly, the science...

While there are so many wellbeing benefits of engaging in our cultural activities, we’re particularly interested in the benefits for tamariki in making wishes through the lens of tamariki-development and psychology. The science tells us that wishing allows tamariki to exercise their imagination and creativity, enabling them to explore possibilities beyond their immediate reality as well as a desired outcome which supports tamariki to develop problem-solving skills. Wishes also allow tamariki to allow for emotional expression, provides a sense of hope and optimism which is both motivating, contributes to resilience and supports goal setting, perseverance and motivation. This is huger than we first thought and really, really cool!

Why this activity?

We all know that tamariki love getting their hands dirty, at Manahau we are big supporters of encouraging ‘connections’ between tamariki and Te Ao Māori through the use of creative interactions. This activity provides an opportunity for tamariki to explore the 9 whetū (stars) of Matariki, and construct their own understanding of how they personally connect to one of the whetū (stars) of Matariki.

You'll need

  • A kōhatu (stone) for each tamariki with an edge about the size of a teacup.

  • Paint/crayons/pastels 

  • Marker pen

  • And if you're using the stencil, print one stencil each for each ākonga

What to do

Firstly, collect or ask your tamariki to bring in a kōhatu from their māra or local awa. Or head off to your local awa and choose a kōhatu each.

You might like to watch this short video together and kōrero about each of the Matariki whetū. We know tamariki will love that Hiwa-i-te-rangi provides us with a Matariki wish! Kōrero about making a special kōhatu to make and keep their Matariki wish for the year ahead. 


Tamariki might like to cover their kōhatu with paint first, then add their whetū in a contrasting colour by either painting this freehand or using our stencil. With the stencil, ask tamariki to work in pairs, holding the stencil for their peer while they paint or colour.


On the back of their kōhatu tamariki can write their Matariki wish.


Here are some suggestions:  


Matariki - the mother of all whetū in the cluster

  • A wish for whānau hauora

  • A wish for whānau

Pōhutukawa - whetū for our loved ones who have passed

  • A wish to someone we miss

  • A wish for memories to stay safe

Tupu-ā-nuku - the whetū for plants 

  • A wish for our kai

  • A wish for our māra

Tupu-ā-rangi - the whetū for our rākau and bush and all they support

  • A wish for growth

  • A wish for te taiao

Waipunarangi - whetū of rain

  • A wish for the weather or environment

Waitī - the whetū of fresh water

  • A wish for our awa

Waitā - whetu of moana

  • A wish for our moana

Ururangi - the whetū of wind

  • A wish for wind we enjoy on our faces and supports te taiao

HIwa-e-te-rangi - the wishing star

  • A wish that makes all good wishes come true!

Kaiako card

Print our Kaiako card to take this activity on the go!

Whānau engagement

This would make an awesome activity for whānau to do alongside their tamariki as part of your Matariki celebrations or events.

Otherwise, Matarik kōhatu could be taken home to share about and find their special spot in the whare or māra - a place they can visit to reconnect and reflect on their wish. 

And to add to this...

Some other fantastic Matariki activities we have on offer include Mindful Matariki and if you're looking for another creative Matariki activity try our Matariki whetū artwork

Curriculum Links

Social Sciences Curriculum 

Identity, Culture, and Organisation – Students learn about society and communities and how they function. They also learn about the diverse cultures and identities of people within those communities and about the effects of these on the participation of groups and individuals.

Continuity and Change – Students learn about past events, experiences, and actions and the changing ways in which these have been interpreted over time.

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