For Kaupapa Maori within the School 

We are a group of parents and staff, mandated by the School Board, who support the development of Kaupapa Māori within the school. We see our role as:

We were formed in 2008 and keep a rhythm of monthly hui during the year to discuss issues and plan for practical support. Over this time we have been involved in many initiatives such as:

As a group we welcome any parent or teacher from the school to join us – from the Kindergarten, Lower School or Upper School; Māori or non-Māori; knowledgeable in tikanga Māori or not.

We share jobs amongst us according to our skills, there is always support within the group for anything we take on, and we recognise that as volunteers we can only do as much as our other commitments will allow us.

There are ways of contributing for anyone interested in supporting the Kaupapa Māori journey within Raphael House, so if you wish to join us you can contact us through the office at

Mataraki Celebrations

(The beginning of Matariki at Te Whare o Raphael in 2014)

On Saturday 14 June, whānau gathered for a noho marae, staying overnight in the Eurythmy room.  A highlight was seeing the moon rising, beautiful and luminous, over the hills across the valley.  In the morning the group was joined by others for the dawn ceremony to welcome the return of Matariki (and Pūanga) to our skies.  Unfortunately, commitments to whānau meant that at the last minute our key people were unavailable to be there.  It did, however, give us the chance to put into practice the whakatauki: Nau te rourou, Naku te rourou, Ka ora ai te tangata (with your food basket and my food basket, the people will thrive).  Soon a karanga rang out over the valley to welcome Matariki and a karakia was said (even though both were much more simplified than originally intended), beautiful words were spoken about the significance of Matariki, and we all sung the waiata that the tamariki have been learning at the kura.  Followed, of course, by sharing kai.

The kaupapa of whānau and ritual was therefore kept, and the rhythm continued.  The whānau gathered together to mark the occasion, including the ever-present Caroline coming to tautoko the occasion; the whānau who are new to both the kura and the country, coming to experience Māori culture and make the connections to their own and other cultures they have experienced; and the whānau with young children who didn’t quite make the ceremony, but came to share kai with the group anyway.  The ritual was carried out through welcoming the return of Matariki, acknowledging the turning point of the winter and the new beginning it brings, and making connections between ourselves and creation, all gathered together in the still morning hour when the world seems to stand still and take a breath – Te Āta-tū.  Tihei Mouri Ora!

Powhiri at Raphael House

Raphael House welcomed in the new year with a pōwhiri which was embraced by the whole community. This powhiri exemplified kotahitanga (unity) and whanaungatanga (communal and social responsibility), acknowledging Aotearoa New Zealand’s bi-cultural heritage and the important relationship that mana whenua  (local Maori tribal entity) have with our school.  The pōwhiri was met with beautiful summer weather, and gave many whānau the opportunity to experience this unique ritual of encounter.  The resonating sound of the pūtatara (conch shell) signalled to the manuhiri (guests) to make their way by the zig-zag path to the Lower School courtyard.  It was on the arrival of the manuhiri to this point that they were welcomed with karanga (female oratory) and haka pōwhiri (chants of welcome), which drew the manuhiri towards the many staff and students who were waiting for them.

The manuhiri were welcomed by Noel Wood, Richard Howard, Caroline Gray, and David Stephenson on behalf of the teachers, Board of Trustees, and parents.  The children who were moving into Class 1 were given candles by their Class 12 senior peers as heartfelt gestures of their transition into the Lower School.  Once the pōwhiri formalities had been completed, the procession moved into the Eurthmy Room to partake in the sharing of kai.  It was during kai that a new pare (carving that is placed above a door entrance) was unveiled.  This pare symbolised the connection between Rudolph Steiner and mana whenua, and was a profound statement of the dual importance that each has within our community.  

The community then brought this event to an appropriate completion through waiata (singing) and karakia (prayer), which was a fitting end to a wonderful day.

Noho Marae

The first weekend in March was a whānau weekend at the kura.  Tanemahuta Gray again wove his magic with a workshop on Saturday attended by around 40 people, including a high number of tamariki.  The conversation and conviviality meant that it was difficult to gather people again to focus on more learning after lunch, but that all just added to the atmosphere.

After the workshop, many whānau stayed on for the afternoon, evening, night, morning…  Pipiri Walker, a founder member of the school and respected member of the local Māori community, came to share his stories of the mahi that went into the beginning of the kura.  There was a sedate walk down the hill – by the adults – to connect to the places he was talking about.  The tamariki were less sedate, no surprises there.

Dinner and evening ‘chill-out’ saw around thirty people bedded down in the Eurythmy room.  By morning the talk was of the lack of snoring that occurred during the night – perhaps the wairua of the Eurythmy room blessed us all with peace and calm!

Before clean-up we visited the Class 10 Aotearoa history exhibition in the Upper School – ka pai te mahi!  We finished with a poroporoaki, a finishing and thanking informal ceremony, as endings are important as beginnings – often because they can lead to new beginnings.  We hope that this whānau experience can be repeated at the kura on a regular basis, so the aroha can be extended to others.


Ka pai te mahi!
Good work!
Family (in its wider sense)

Schedule of activities

On Rāapa/Wednesday before the Matariki Festival, it was a calm pre-dawn morning.  Quite a contrast between what was to come!  Te Rōpū tautoko i te kaupapa Māori led the kura/school community in a ceremony to welcome Matariki to our skies.  The karanga/calling through the dark stillness was followed by the chanting of karakia/prayers which link us to creation. 

An event full of wairua/spirit, with a community feel because of all the whānau/family members who were there – many who had stayed the night previous, in the Eurthymy Room, some who got out of bed early to join us.  The scene had been set for the rest of the festival week.

Ngā mihi,
Suzanne Manning
on behalf of Te Rōpū tautoko i te kaupapa Māori