Workshop Hikitia — Tōku ao


Tōku ao

This topic focuses on baby’s world, and how whānau can help to nurture baby’s potential.

Hinengaro — Brain development

This wānanga introduces ‘te hinengaro’. It gives whānau an opportunity to learn and share their knowledge about what’s happening in baby’s brain, and to realise how critical this early development of te hinengaro is to baby’s future.

Taumauri — Mana tangata

The underlying philosophy of this wānanga is based on the Āhuru Mōwai principle ‘mana tangata’. This means encouraging whānau to create an environment where their children are continuously affirmed for who they are: their unique personalities, talents and characteristics.

‘Tika’ and ‘pono’

Use these terms (meaning ‘correct’ and ‘belief’), and embrace and uphold them in this wānanga.

Whakawhanaungatanga: whakatuwhera, whakatau, mihimihi

Continue to build whanaungatanga within the group. Have refreshments ready for arrival, and spend 10 minutes having a cuppa and a catch up.

Introduction to the session

Open with a karakia and a waiata — your own or one of the ones provided. Then give an overview of the session. Emphasise that this hui will centre on the importance of:

  • knowledge — mātauranga
  • opportunities — ngā whai wāhitanga
  • exploration — aotūroa
  • repetition — tāruarua          


Talk with the group about the importance of pēpi’s first 3 years of life. This is a time of rapid brain development, and when the foundation of brain pathways is laid for life. Give an explanation and translation of ‘hinengaro’ — ‘the place where thoughts are produced and kept’ (Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori — Māori Language Commission, 2008).

Choose 3 of the SKIP Whakatipu booklets. Ask whānau to find all the information about the brain, and make a note of what the information was. Give them a minute or so, then emphasise that they only have 1 minute left to complete it.

Afterwards, talk about the reaction that occurred in their brain when pressure was added. Brainstorm on the whiteboard about what they found.

In pairs and using the SKIP Whakatipu booklets, ask participants to:

  • choose the booklet(s) appropriate to the ages of their pēpi
  • find the ‘Te hinengaro mīharo’ information in the booklets
  • talk about this information and how it relates to pēpi.

Parents usually speak to their babies in the language they are most familiar with. For whānau who speak te reo, lots of repetition of Māori sounds and rhyming words help set language patterns in the brain.

If parents speak another language, baby learns the natural rhythms, sounds and speech patterns for that language. Whānau who speak two or more languages to their pēpi are giving their baby a special gift.

Also expose baby to the natural world where they can experience the elements:

  • wai
  • sounds
  • te moana
  • te hau
  • te one
  • te awa
  • te ua

Expose pēpi to both familiar and some unfamiliar elements:

  • Rangi-nui — sky father
  • Tama-nui-te-rā — sun, stars, moon
  • Papatūānuku — mother earth, sand, dirt, grass
  • Tāwhiri-mātea — wind, breeze, drizzle, clouds
  • Tāne-mahuta — under the trees, bare body (carefully), shade
  • Tangaroa — water, bathing, relaxing, cleaning, playing, healing
  • touch — mirimiri
  • sound — wind, rain, music, Māori voices (pleasant and warm)
  • smell — body, new grass, beach, flowers (not the smell of smoke or alcohol in the air or on clothes)
  • sight — environment
  • warmth — warm bed, warm clothes, kai, physical care, consistency, routines, trusting relationships, friendliness, aroha.

Learning concepts through everyday experiences:

  • horoi taputapu
  • mahi tī
  • whakahaere motokā
  • whakapaipai makawe
  • taitai niho
  • ngā whānau kararehe
  • making links to the universe through shapes and patterns.

Extend on what pēpi is seeing and saying using te reo Māori:


  • Karakia, waiata and stories that have been repeated often now become second-nature for tamariki.
  • Introduce longer waiata and more complex stories, building their capacity to remember more.
  • Mahi pāngarau — promote Māori patterns in carving, tāniko and weaving.
  • Teach tamariki the names of different patterns: poutama, pātiki and koru, and show these patterns in the bush and in the sea. Practise drawing them.


Explain this whakataukī and encourage whānau to have a 2-minute discussion about its meaning:

  • ‘Mā te huruhuru, te manu ka rere.’
  • ‘Adorn the bird with feathers, so it will fly.’


Make a puzzle or game using natural resources (shells, stones and leaves) or household recycled items (milk bottle tops, plastic drink bottles and pegs).

Think about what pēpi is learning with this puzzle or game. Are there any safety issues with it? Can it be cleaned?


Bring everyone together for closing, and offer an opportunity for whānau to share their puzzle or game if they want, and an opportunity to give feedback on their experience of the session.

Reflect on the kaupapa of this hui — ‘Tōku ao’.

Close with a karakia and a waiata — your own or one of the ones provided.


  • Projector
  • DVD player
  • Speakers
  • A variety of natural resources
  • A variety of household recycled items
  • PVA glue
  • Glue stick
  • String
  • Sticky tape
  • Scissors
  • Craft resources

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