Maori legends – teacher and children’s art, about Rangi and Papa and their sons

In preparation for our study of Matariki lessons (Māori New Year), we learned about the Māori creation story, explaining the origin of life. Some legends of Matariki say that when Ranginui and Papatūānuku were separated one of their sons, Tāwhirimātea, the god of the wind, became so upset he tore out his own eyes and threw them into the heavens.

Matariki window

I told the children the creation story, and then drew and wrote my interpretation on our windows.

This was the start of a strong fascination with Matariki and other Māori legends, that carried over to home life. Children talked to their parents about legends and Māori history. A group of children worked together to make a literacy and art display about Ranginui and Papatūānuku’s sons, with illustrations and stories. They were especially keen on depicting the gods as  modern-day comic book heroes. Most of the class knew about Tane and Tangaroa, but other characters were new to them – like Tāwhirimātea.

Tawhirimatea by CW
A child’s work describing Tawhirimatea


2 thoughts on “Maori legends – teacher and children’s art, about Rangi and Papa and their sons

  1. Hi, I am a teacher in Wairoa (East Coast, North Island). I came across your poppy mural while on pinterest. Are you a classroom teacher or an art teacher? What age group did the mural? I would love to do something similar with my year 5-6 class.


    1. Kiaora Delwyn. I am a classroom teacher, like you 🙂 I am glad that you like the poppy mural – I was wonderng what was driving the blog traffic over the past month, and now realise its that mural! The young artists who made this were Year 5 students. They were so proud of the finished artwork – they almost didn’t agree to it being ‘borrowed’ for a few months for the school office, and welcomed it back.

      This post has more information about the project


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