Children from four schools and early childhood centres designed and decorated six hupara for New Zealand’s first public Te Mara Hupara cultural garden.
The garden has been installed in Walmsley and Underwood parks as part of the Te Auaunga/Oakley Creek stream restoration and reserve redevelopment project.
Hupara, or traditional log-based Maori artefacts, were an important resource used by Māori for play, learning and exercise. The children’s designs represent their school communities as well as important themes like cultural diversity and inclusiveness.
The hupara were developed in interactive workshops with Māori games expert and hupara enthusiast Harko Brown, and 190 children from Wesley Kindergarten, Wesley Primary, Owairaka District and Wesley Intermediate took part.
Creating of the hupara was a part of a placemaking programme funded by the Puketāpapa Local Board. Tamariki were given an understanding of Ngā-aro tākaro/Māori play, the historic norms of Māori society and used narratives, action and play to create their own hupara designs.
A celebration at Wesley Primary School marked the successful completion of the project and each of the four participating schools and early childhood centres shared insights gained during the programme.
The children ended their experience with a hikoi to the park to see their hupara installed and were given the chance to explore the new Te Mara Hupara garden.