Exploring Matariki through DI

2022 sees the first official celebration of Matariki as a public holiday. Here are two teaching resources to support you to explore the meaning of this special festival with your class.

First, a lovely playful learning adventure for younger children, created by Whakarongo Tauranga. This one is loosely based on the book Tirama Tirama Matariki. In this learning adventure, tamariki are asked to help Kiwi and friends search for Matariki, and discover the stories told about the stars. The planning supports inquiries into lots of different aspects of Matariki. Whakarongo created this for teachers in her own kura, and has generously made it available to others who may be looking for ideas. Kia ora Whakarongo! If you use or adapt this plan, please acknowledge Whakarongo and also Rebecca Larsen who wrote and illustrated the book.


Secondly, we have this resource, written by myself. It is based on the story Matariki Breakfast by Andrē Ngāpō & Rozel Pharazyn – a text from the “Ready to Read” series, which is readily available in most schools. In this plan, children step into role as Kara and her family as they prepare their special breakfast – choosing details like what’s in the pot, and what warm clothes to wear. The plan also uses simple paper cut outs and a waiata to bring a sense of magic to the retelling of a traditional story of Matariki and her children.

I wrote this plan last year, and have really enjoyed teaching it in a number of classes from year 1-6. You’ll see the planning is very detailed as it’s designed to be picked up and used by kaiako with little or no prior knowledge of DI. It also includes some information on how the planning was developed. If you use and adapt this plan, please acknowledge myself as original author and the writer and illustrator of the text.

As with all planning offered freely on this site, these resources belong to the original authors and are not to be on-sold for profit nor distributed in any other form.

1 Comment

  1. Viv Aitken on June 21, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    I thought people might be interested to hear about how two teachers I’m working with have adapted Whakarongo’s planning model in two very different ways.

    If you think about it, Whakarongo’s planning structure relies on the idea of someone (in this case kiwi) having an urgent reason why they need to learn about Matariki (in this case, because it’s jumbled up in kiwi’s mind). The teacher in role “hook” creates a purpose for the inquiry learning that children carry out. Then, once they have got the information together, the teacher in role can be used to “assess” / check in on their learning. It’s a brilliantly simple structure that can be used over and over again to create Drama For Learning moments in just about any curriculum area.

    Two teachers I worked with today have planned their Matariki inquiries on the same Drama for Learning structure – this time with different roles and different urgent reasons.

    In the first example, the teacher of a year 1 class will still be using the role of kiwi. However, in this case the urgent reason to learn about Matariki is because kiwi’s day bird friends want to understand this festival they’ve been hearing the humans talk about. In this version of the plan, the teacher in role will play kiwi as wise and knowledgable on Matariki. Children will ‘be’ invited to do the inquiry then feedback what they’ve learned as if they are kiwi teaching the other birds. See how that’s the same structure, and same roles, but framed a bit differently?

    And how about this for a totally different direction … another teacher (year 5s) has planned a drama hook where the one who urgently needs to understand about matariki is a human – a 28 year old vlogger called Zak – who is a tourist from the US and wants to create a short video (maybe for tic tok). Zak wants to entertain his followers but is sensitive to the cultural implications and wants to get things right.

    This example seems REALLY different but it’s the same structure. Children are conducting inquiry as in before – to help someone who urgently needs the information. In this case it’s to ‘help Zak’ and to ‘make sure the story of Matariki is spread around the world with the right kinds of values’.

    I love how DI can be used in so many different ways, and how one teacher’s planning can be so inspiring to others. Kia Ora Whakarongo! And thanks Trace and Preet for taking the idea and running with it…



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