Ururangi is the star which determines the nature of the winds for the year. Māori have always maintained a keen interest in the wind. It was only by harnessing the power of the wind that Māori were able to travel to Aotearoa in the very beginning.

Kites played an important role in developing this understanding of the wind. They had many uses: for fun or fishing, for war, and occasionally as sails to drive canoes.

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Throughout the Pacific kites were usually made with aute, the bark of the paper mulberry, which is also used to make tapa. In New Zealand, however, the paper mulberry doesn’t grow very well, so kites were usually made of raupō, cutty grass or flax. The frames of the kites were made from kareao, mānuka, or toetoe.

The Maori word for bird is ‘manu’ and it is in the shape of a bird that they made their kites. It was believed that birds could carry messages between humans and gods. 


Can you make your own kite, to honour Ururangi ? … complete the Kite Challenge by making your own kite within 30 minutes.

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First research kites and sustainable manufacture with the following links:

Hello Girls and Boys! A New Zealand Toy Story by David Veart

www.kites.co.nz (Lots of information about kites!)

The Māori Kite

Kites and manu tukutuku in Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

How to make a manu taratahi in Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Keeping Kites Flying a great teaching resource from Tales from Te Papa

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And don't forget to read the book, The Seven Kites of Matariki, available from your local library.