Taonga tuku iho nā ngā tupuna: A cultural heritage from our ancestors.
The Sumner School Cultural Narrative was created in response to the property development work undertaken at the school as part of the Christchurch Education Renewal Plan. This property work gave the school an opportunity to consider how the cultural narrative of the Sumner area could be woven into the naming and colour choices for the buildings thus maintaining an important cultural link to our Māori tuku iho (heritage).
The Cultural Narrative was written by a group of Years 1-8 students in consultation with mana whenua following a school-wide inquiry about Tūrangawaewae (the place on which we stand). It recognises the importance Sumner (Ōhikaparuparu) had to Māori as a place to gather kaimoana (seafood).
Ōhikaparuparu is the name for the coastal area that the Sumner township sits on. A loose translation of the name is ‘place where you may fall in the mud’. The name is a warning to people that despite the variety of resources and abundance of flora and fauna in the area, if one was not constantly alert and aware of their surroundings, particularly the tides, they could get stuck in the mudflats.
The four learning hubs, Rapanui, Tuawera, Te Onepoto and Awaroa get their names from the four key landmarks that were used by Māori to identify different areas for gathering kaimoana. Rapanui (Years 0-2) was the entrance point to the fishing grounds and as such is the starting point for our ākonga (learners) as they enter our school.
As our ākonga navigate their way through the school they are guided through the landmarks of Tuawera (Years 3&4), Te Onepoto (Years 5&6) and conclude their journey at Awaroa (Years 7&8) the highest of the landmarks where they can look out on the wider world just as Māori have done for generations.
Rapanui (Years 0-2 Team)
Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu: Despite being small, it is of great value.
Ko Rapanui te pūtahi o ngā ara Rau: Rapanui is the conjunction/crossroads of the many paths
Rapanui (Shag Rock) means the ‘great sternpost’, as it was used to guide waka into the Ihutai (Avon Heathcote Estuary). The waterways were like highways with many waka coming and going. Rapanui was where waka docked, and an important sign for navigation, as travellers came in from the sea looking for the estuary.
Rapanui is one of the oldest landmarks of Te Wai Pounamu (South Island). It is a volcanic remnant, meaning it is made of cooled molten lava from one of the nearby volcanoes. This type of formation is also known as a sea stack.
Rapanui is now not as obvious, due to a large part of it collapsing in the 2011 Earthquake, but it still stands as a symbol of our community’s resilience and continues to mark the entrance point to Sumner.
The name Rapanui is often associated with being the easternmost marker sitting next to a significant settlement. It is a name that is common throughout the Pacific. For example, Easter Island also shares the name Rapanui.
The area was once rich in shellfish such as kūtai (mussels), pipi, and tuangi (cockles), fish-like pataka (flatfish), kapu (soles), and pātiki (flounder). It was abundant in birdlife including the New Zealand shoveler, kawau (shags), kūaka (godwits), and tōrea (oystercatcher). It was also a source of tuna (eels), as well as various types of harakeke (flax).
The Māori tribes in the area used harakeke in many different ways. They wove the muka (fibre) into fabrics, which they used to make cloaks, and the roots also had many antiseptic properties. They wove baskets and containers to carry the kai they had gathered.
Rapanui was chosen for the Junior School because it is the first beacon we go past coming into the Sumner community, just as the Years 0-2 is the starting point when ākonga (learners) arrive at our school. Rapanui guides younger children into our community, and points them in the right direction, as they continue their journey through their years here.
Written by Stella C (Year 8), Aurora GR (Year 7), Cara M (Year 2), and George R(Year 2)