Matariki Story Place at Te Papa

Story Place at Te Papa has been heavily booked recently, with ‘Matariki’ being the topic of discovery. We were so blessed to have an ‘exclusive’ session with friends Marrisa and Bethany (out of luck, not connections). But then perhaps the Gods were blessing us for the numerous contributions Family Lee have made to Te Papa’s profit margins (car parking, Birthday parties, hundreds of coffees, lunches and morning teas over the years, weekly rides on ‘The Magic Lilo’ and of course hundreds of purchases in the excellent Te Papa store for friends and family overseas!).

Story Place is a wonderful 45-minute experience. It commences with the lights dimmed and a story read (but for wriggly toddlers there are a few puzzles and toys).

There is usually a little ‘ceremony’ after the story to open the curtains, raise the lights, and commence free play. Today Charlotte and Bethany went fishing for ingredients to make a pretend hangi. After they’d caught a few fish they added some vegetables, buried it all under the ground (lots of cushions) and threw seven stars on top for good measure (the seven stars of the Pleiades constellation).

During the free play session there is a table set aside for a craft activity, which gives the children an opportunity to create something special to take away with them. Today, they made shooting stars. Sophie was more interested in checking out the rock-pool, but I made her one anyway (to avoid any arguments in the car on the way home!).

Sophie also discovered a New Zealand style mailbox (there isn’t the luxury of mail delivered through your door in New Zealand!). People here have to take a walk down their drive way (or a drive if you live on a farm!) to the roadside (I can feel another post coming on…).

After all the free play it was time for the girls to unearth their hangi and settle down for one more story before home-time (and a ‘stamp’ on the hand – what a treat – on the way out!). Stamps on the hand are a frequent token treat here – at the library, the swimming pool etc. I took Sophie to the post office for the first time the other week and when I said, ‘I need to buy some stamps,’ she looked at me and held out her hand!

Happy Matariki – again!