Connectedness to Water

Connectedness to Water

7 April 2023

Ko te wai te ora ngā mea katoa - Water is the life giver of all things.

With the mornings a little lighter, and the Autumn weather providing us with some sunny days, children still have time to delight in engaging with water outdoors!

In Aotearoa/New Zealand, we are fortunate to be surrounded by natural waterways – beaches/oceans (moana), creeks/rivers (awa), and lakes (roto). A day out for families to a local waterway can provide a rich learning experience for tamariki as they discover the natural environment, learn about life cycles of species that are present, how tides occur and affect the natural cycle, how the water has provided for past generations, how it provides for us now, and how through respecting and caring (manaakitanga) for our water, it will provide for future generations.

Our infants can enjoy the rewarding sensory experience that is found when engaging with nature – seeing the colours of the natural landscape and water, touching the texture of the land and water (wai), smelling the air and their discoveries on land, hearing the wind rustle the leaves and the water lapping at the shore, and tasting the saltiness or freshness of the water.

Children engaging with their natural local surroundings connects them to places, providing a sense of belonging. Māori identity is linked to awa. Māori are connected to water and to the whole natural world through whakapapa – a lineage that descends from Ranginui and Papatūānuku down to people and all parts of the environment. Awa are thought of as tīpuna (ancestors) that have been with us throughout history.

Engaging with water can be relaxing and soothing for children (and adults!), so prepare to spend time being in the moment and connecting with the natural environment, appreciating all that the water provides for us.