Tuesday, 25 June 2013

In the Beginning ... the story of how light came to Aotearoa

The story of “In the Beginning” retold Peter Gossage is one of the stories we read in acknowledgement of our Bi-cultural heritage.  Some of the children have embraced the story and we have extended it by integrating it into our art area with props of each of the 6 brothers.  Tu – the God of man and war is often a popular one with the boys,  Tane – the Guardian of the Forest is strong and kind.   I suspect they identify with Tu’s power and Tane’s strength.
Tane - the Guardian of the Forest

Tu - the God of Man and war

The story reads, “In the beginning were Rangi the father and Papa  (papatuanuku – the earth mother).  Many sons were born into the darkness between them…Some of the brothers tired of their cramped, dark life between their parents.  They decided something must be done.”

Tane is the one who finally manages to push apart his father (Rangi) and mother – (papatuanuku – the earth mother).  Tangaroa – the guardian of the sea with it’s lovely colours attracts the girls.  Tawhirimatea,  Haumia and Rongo are noted for their peaceful approach, so many of the children are drawn to this caring, nurturing image. 

“Rangi flew up into the air and light streamed in.  Then Tane clothed his mother in trees, flowers and ferns and dressed his father with rainbows, clouds stars and the sun (te Ra) and moon (te Marama)…..Now, when it rains, the Maori say that Rangi, the sky father, is crying for his lost love, Papa, the earth mother.”

Mason draws, paints and cuts out his Tu.




This is Katie's illustration of Rongo - you can see the wonderful attention to detail, a great likeness! 

The interest in the story has increased and developed with conversations, drawings, screen-prints, story reading and dramatization. 

Ethan, Thomas and Finlay are using screen printing, drawing  and painting to illustrate their perspective of Tane.
Amani illustrates Tangaroa, Guardian of the Sea  (above)   “I gonna do her  hair, she pretty.” 
Finn illustrates Haumia, Guardian of wild and uncultivated foods, a peaceful character in this story.
Lucas has chosen to prepare and make a lovely screen print of Haumia
During mat time has been an opportunity to revisit and retell the story, and give children the chance to share their understanding and participate in discussion about which character they identify with and why.

Francesca – “I like Tane ‘cause he’s nice but I don’t like Tu ‘cause he wanted to kill his parents”!


Ruby C – “I like him because he’s kind” (Rongo)

Dramatization of the story (a shortened version) enable the children to act out the story and develop the understanding of how these characters would feel.

  Tane, Guardian of the Forest, insects and birds, played by Thomas
Tu, God of Man & War played by Finlay
Tawhirimatea, God of the wind and storms played by Francesca
Tangaroa, Guardian of the Sea, played by Ava
Haumia, Guardian spirit of wild and uncultivated foods, played by Ethan
Rongo, God of Peace and Agriculture, played by Ruby

All the children of Rangi (the Sky Father) and Papatuanuku (the Earth Mother) are in the darkness, not being able to stretch and grow.  After a lot of discussion between the brothers...

 ... finally Tane stretches his legs and pushes Rangi away from Papatuanuku...

 ...with a little help from all the other children...
....the light streamed in!
 We have linked this story to the theory of Creation through a lovely book by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen – “Wonderful Earth” – this gave us another perspective to consider.
These wonderful stories enable our children to participate, to look at our environment through another lens, a cultural perspective; it gives meaning, it helps children to make connections with nature and hopefully a respect for nature and all its living things.
Who knows where this passage will take us….
As we continue to review our new outdoor environment, it will be interesting to see how our children find ways to make connections between this story and our own environment and use their knowledge to making meaning in their own context during their learning experiences.  
Documented by Karen and Leanne

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