Mid-Winter Matariki Evening at Buckle My Shoe!

After a fruitful trip to the grocer, the time had come to start preparing our vegetables to make our Matariki vegetable soup!


With our basket on the table, we began to examine the different vegetables in front of us. As we went through them, we came across some that were a little unfamiliar to many of the group. Using our senses of sight, smell and touch we had a few guesses of what they could be. “Theses little ones are called yams and this one is called a leek”, Kaiako Gwen explained.“


Holding a packet in her hand Gwen said, “This is soup mix. We need to soak the lentils and barley so that they can soften and be part of our soup.” After washing our hands, it was finally time to start peeling some vegetables. Parsnips, carrots and potatoes were on the agenda first – but of course we had to have a quick chat about how to be safe whilst using the peeler, grater and butter knife.

It was very impressive watching how confident and capable our little ones were when peeling the spuds. Perhaps they help mum and dad in the kitchen at home? They were demonstrating a safe technique of peeling away from their bodies and it was clear to see the amount of concentration and focus they put in during this process. Well Done! 👏


Once the spuds had been peeled, we couldn’t help but smell the freshness of the vegetables in front of us – even in the skins. This made us wonder what our soup was going to smell like once all the vegetables had been added. Next task – grating and chopping them up. The parsnips, potatoes and yams were grated, whilst the celery, courgettes and carrots were cut.


Using a butter knife, some of our little ones carefully began cutting their vegetables. They had to be careful to hold the vegetable well on the chopping board whilst coordinating their other hand to carefully manoeuvre the butter knife to cut through. What a task! But driven by determination and with support from Gwen, they were able to do it. 👍

Soon our pot was filled with veges and the last thing to do was add in some vegetable stock. As the soup simmered on the stove, Buckle My Shoe was filled with the aroma of fresh soup and the anticipation to try it!

Making vegetable soup with our little ones is part of our Matariki celebration and also links to healthy eating. Our little ones were part of every step of the process - from gathering the vegetables (our trip to the grocer) to prepping them for cooking. Through this process, new vegetables were introduced to our tamariki and with that, new vegetable names added into their vocabulary. Providing them with the opportunity to help peel, grate and cut the vegetables empowers them to develop confidence, hand-eye coordination skills and helps strengthen their little fingers. It also is a task that links to the real world.

We were so proud of our vegetable soup and couldn’t wait to share it with our whanau. 😊

To prepare for our Matariki evening, we rearranged our environment to make room for everyone. Waiata is an important part of Maori culture and what better way to kick off our Matariki event than with a little performance. At Buckle My Shoe, whenever we start a Mat Time, we welcome everyone and often sing a special Haera Mai song. We thought it would be a great opportunity to share this with our whanau.


Once everyone had found a seat, we began with our welcome song. What made this even more special was that some older siblings who had come for the event and also attended Buckle My Shoe, remembered the song and joined in! Because stars are an auspicious Matariki symbol and ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ is a favourite, our little ones chose to perform this song in both English and Maori - inviting their whanau to join in too.

With everyone’s voices warmed up, it was now time to warm up our bodies. The ‘Matariki Macarena’ was a fun way for our little ones to learn the names of the Stars of Matariki at the same time as learning the Macarena. Remember – the body teaches the brain. 😊


To end our concert, we had a special CD story with Gwen ‘Row Row Row Your Waka’ which is a bi-cultural version of the popular song ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’.


After teaching our whanau the karakia (prayer) we say before meal times, it was finally time to fill our pukus (bellies). Warm vegetable soup – made by special little hands, pizza and hot chips were on the menu.


Gathering for a meal and spending time with loved ones is an important part of Matariki and this gave the wider Buckle My Shoe family a chance to get to know each other better. 😊


With full tummies, we headed out onto the front lawn where picnic mats and blankets had been laid out. It was now time for some star gazing and we wondered if we would be able to spot the 7 Stars of Matariki. Because we needed it to be dark to be able to see the stars, we handed out glow sticks to everyone which were made into different accessories so we could see each other!

For dessert, we had yummy Korean treats which were brought in by one of our wonderful families and we decided to enjoy these under the stars - smiles, laughs & happiness all around.


We are so thankful that we had a chance to share such a wonderful evening together. 😊