Sea Week-Te Moana

Every New Zealand school should celebrate Sea Week. Why? Because it is a perfect opportunity for integrating Te Reo Māori me ōna tikanga (aside from the fact that we are a motu (island) surrounded by te moana-the sea). There is lots of tikanga associated with the sea.

Ko au te moana ko te moana ko au

I am the sea the sea is me.

If you are looking for a collaborative-this has some of our NZ sea creatures in it. This is a great way to present findings. Learners can write on their collaborative piece.




Tiakina a Tangaroa-School Journal

The sea dominated traditional Polynesian and Māori life for many practical reasons. It was an essential source of food and other resources. When your learners understand this it helps them see the differences in beliefs that others  had for the sea, and why kaitiakitanga is so important. The sea was/is a giant food basket. It needs to be treated with care and respect.

This article, about a class’s science investigation, recounts how the students compare the sea life of a “protected” marine reserve with that at an “unprotected” beach. They discover clear differences and identify the harm people do to the environment by littering. The students raise community awareness of the issue by organising a sponsored parade.

It will also help you with pronunciation of some sea creatures in te reo Māori.

Here’s a Tangaroa collaborative.

The Pupu Pool

by Witi Ihimaera

Check out your journals to see if you still have this awesome pūrākau 1983; School Journal 1974, pt. 3, no. 3

Tells how a Maori whānau anticipate collecting their favourite shellfish from the reef, how the father teaches them about conservation, and of their ultimate disillusionment.

If you cant find that, this is a very similar story. The Seahorse and the Reef.



Good for pronunciation as well as learning the name for the Pacific Ocean-Te Moananui-a-Kiwa.

Te Ika a Māui

The Fish of Māui-a great time to read this and find how the North Island has parts of it named from the parts of Māui’s fish and his mātau (fish hook).

Kei Roto i te Moana-In the Sea

This is a resource with a variety of activities to help learn the Māori names for our sea creatures.

NZ Sea Creatures Concertina Book

Yes, its one of my favourites as I love these books as gifts or just to keep returning to gaze at. Good for adding written language to too. Take a look.

NZ Sea Creatures


Here is some of the tikanga associated with te moana. Other Iwi may have different tikanga. (That’s the great thing about tikanga -the many correct ways. Tika-right/correct.

1.Me tuku karakia i mua i tō kohi kai. Ask permission and give thanks to Tangaroa.

2. Kaua e wareware ki te whakahoki i te ika tuatahi ki a Tangaroa.  Give the first fish back to Tangaroa, that is your gift back to him.

3. Kaua e kai ki te wāhi i kohia ērā kai. Never eat seafood at the place you gathered it (or in front of Tangaroa).

4. Kaua e tuku para ki ō wāhi kai. Never pollute the sea/seafood areas.

5. Wāhine mā, kaua e kohi kai i te wā o tō mate wahine. Don’t collect seafood (or swim in these areas) while you have your period.

6. Kaua e kaiapo. Kohi kai kia nui mōu.  Don’t be greedy. Take only what you need.

And remember to share with your kaumātua and other people who can’t get to collect kaimoana.

Do you know of any other tikanga ? Don’t waste kaimoana-kaua e moumou kai!



This is 3 A4 pieces which I  enlarge to A3.

This will look brilliant displayed in your learning space. If you would like to subscribe and also get this poster just fill out the form below.