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Unison supports Māori New Year celebrations with Ngā Tohu o te Tau Hou Educational Programme

Students from Camberley School learn more about the lunar and solar calendars as part of the Ngā Tohu o te Tau Hou educational programme

To celebrate the beginning of the Māori new year, Unison is partnering with the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust (Ātea Trust) to deliver their Ngā Tohu o te Tau Hou (Signs of the New Year) education programme to schools from around Hawke's Bay this week.

The Ātea Trust was established by celestial navigator Piripi Smith and local carvers of the Ātea a Rangi (star compass) project to maintain the carved pou within it and deliver educational programmes for community groups in Hawke's Bay. These programmes include topics such as Māori astronomy, traditional navigation, waste awareness, riparian native planting and traditional Māori games.

Unison first supported the creation of the Ātea a Rangi in 2017 by supplying used power poles for some of the carving that completed it. The star compass has since become a major attraction in Hawke's Bay and is regularly featured as a must visit place.

Through sponsoring the Ngā Tohu o te Tau Hou educational programme, Unison hopes to give school children the opportunity to learn more about Matariki – one of the signs of the Māori New Year – as well as traditional astrological practices embedded in Māori culture.

Ātea Trust celestial navigator, Piripi Smith said the Trust is thankful for Unison’s ongoing support.

“We are very grateful to Unison for their generous sponsorship. We believe this educational programme helps foster an appreciation for our natural environment and cultural heritage among students of all ages,” Mr Smith said.

Unison General Manager Commercial, Jason Larkin said Unison is proud to partner with the Trust in sharing cultural activities and experiences with its community.

“We are delighted to be working with the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust on this important kaupapa – it is an excellent way to bring together local schools and communities to celebrate our shared history and culture.

“This is a significant part of our programme of partnerships supporting the education and development of our young people through initiatives such as House of Science, Safe Sparks and the Graeme Dingle Foundation,” Mr Larkin said.

This week marks the start of the Ātea Trust’s Ngā Tohu o te Tau Hou (Signs of the New Year) celebrations, which aims to provide the community with valuable insights into Māori culture while also teaching them important lessons about our environment. A schedule of events can be found at www.atea.nz.

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