Feathers of knowledge


Ma te huruhuru te manu ka rere, with feathers a bird may fly.
And by the sheer number of feathers that the education team received in the last few months, this bird could fly as far as Matariki!Image


This amazing paper feather kākahu (cloak) has been created by thousands of students from schools across Aotearoa. The kākahu will be displayed in the Discovery Centre Te Huka a Tai on Level 4 for the next few weeks. Come along and admire the work and share in the collective knowledge.


The education team have been inundated with feathers from students who have been learning about Matariki. With support from Te Taura Whiri Māori Language Commission, the Te Papa Educators produced a new teacher resource to help teachers teach their students about Matariki. The lessons in the resource include an activity for students to record their new learning about Matariki onto a paper feather. Upon these feathers children drew pictures, and wrote words of wisdom that they would like to share with others about Matariki, including:

“Matariki means little eyes” and “There are over 500 stars in the Matariki cluster”.


So armed with staplers, hot glue guns and even a sewing machine the Te Papa Educators sewed, glued and burnt their fingers creating the kākahu. With over 2,000 feathers they ended up with a kākahu that is 5 metres long and 1 metre wide and weighing up to 5kg!

The end result of this activity is not only a beautiful collaborative artwork, but it is also a great exercise in sharing matauranga (knowledge). It also demonstrates the many and varied communities that we reach out to through our education service.

Nō reira ka mihi ki ngā kura, ki ngā akonga, ki ngā kaiako nā rātou i tuku mai i ēnei tāonga atāhua, me te tuku mai hoki i ō rātou ake mātauranga hei koha ki te katoa.

Thank you to the schools, students and teachers for contributing in the creation of this beautiful kākahu, and for sharing their knowledge with us all.

Written by Te Papa Educator Ati Teepa
View the new Matariki Teacher Resource
Find out more about the Te Papa Education programmes

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