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Identifying place names of bodies of water in Aoteaora

Māori place names of bodies of water in Aotearoa have significance about those waters. The naming of places is deeply rooted in whakapapa and mātauranga of the people who made these places their home. They can also describe the nature and physical attributes of the bodies of water and the activities conducted there.

This is a learning lesson for kaiako and teachers helping tamariki learn to identify place names of bodies of water in Aotearoa.

   

Learning Intention

Students learn to:

  • Investigate and enquire about their local and wider water environment
  • Apply Māori place names to bodies of water in Aotearoa and in their local community
  • understand why Māori place names were given to specific bodies of water
  • Identify recreational uses of water

Success Criteria

Students are able to:

  • Work within groups to talk and write about the place names of the different bodies of water found in Aotearoa
  • Contribute to the group discussion and locate those place names on a map of Aotearoa and their local environment
  • Hear stories from the teacher about those place names, and what their meaning is.

Resources

Atlases and maps from school library

Blank map of Aotearoa

Blank map of local environment

Story of Kupe and Te Wheke a Muturangi

Illustration of Te Whanganui A Tara (as example of local area)

Lesson sequence

Starter – In groups students are asked to discuss and write as many place names of Aoteaora, in both English and Māori.

Each group is then assigned one or more of the following task. Using the map of Aotearoa students are to identify and place:

  • the place names on the coast of Aotearoa;

  • the place names inland of Aoteaora;

  • the place names next to rivers of Aotearoa; 

  • the place names next to open bodies of water such as lakes of Aoteaora;

  • the place names of maunga (mountains) of Aotearoa;

Students transfer their information onto a large blank map of Aotearoa and report their findings.

The teacher asks students questions such as:

  • How many of you have visited any of these areas?

  • What do you know about the name of these places?

This exercise is repeated for the local area.

Students are asked to use a copy of a local map, or draw a map of their local area and name the places on the map, in English and Māori. 

The teacher asks students questions such as:

  • How many of you have visited any of these areas?

  • What do you know about the name of these places?

The teacher reads or tells stories, myths and/or legends about the places in the local area identifying the relationships and narrative around tangaroa and moana. The story of Kupe and te Wheke a Muturangi depicts a number of places, landmarks and islands named by Kupe in his pursuit of the octopus, te wheke a mturangi. 

Assessment

This lesson is a good way for the teacher to assess what the students already know about the place names in Aotearoa and their local area. 

 

 
 
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