Grounded in māra kai experiences

Tamariki concentrate on planting seeds in the prepared soil.

Growth, strength, peacefulness and endurance

Mayfield Kindergarten kaiako have set a learning priority to develop the needs and wellbeing of themselves and others. They have woven this into empowering experiences within their māra kai with support from their gardener.
Tānemahuta, Rongomātāne and Tangaroa greet you at the entrance to Mayfield Kindergarten. These pou represent the kindergarten’s connection to their environment. The characteristics of these Atua underpin the learning priorities for the tamariki that attend. Kaiako and tamariki tiaki (care for) these atua and their wide-spread environment, made up of the native gardens, māra kai, a rocky awa and open spaces.

Natural cycles in Māra Kai

Māra kai has been the action learning focus over the last 6 months for kaiako, tamariki and Joy, their gardener. Joy spends 3 hours a week at Mayfield Kindergarten. During this time she encourages tamariki to be involved in the garden. Together they sow seeds, plant seedlings, pull out weeds, water the plants and harvest produce. The excitement of having Joy and her support in the gardens is evident as soon as she walks in the gate. Immediately there is a group of tamariki huddled around her waiting eagerly to know what they will do each session. This regular engagement and encouragement has helped empower tamariki to participate in caring for this special garden.
The summer garden has a diverse range of plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, kumara, courgettes, and corn that complement the taro, coffee bean tea, guava, a banana palm (with bananas on it) and other fruit trees.

Careful watering.


The kaiako recognise the importance of their māra kai as a way to build on experiences and connections with home. It is an opportunity for tamariki to share their knowledge and expertise. They are able to represent and learn about culture through growing, harvesting and cooking diverse kai. They can also provide support for their community by sharing excess produce. These opportunities to connect with the whenua also nurture their wellbeing as they ground themselves with Papatūānuku.

The experiences that tamariki gain from engaging in the mara kai encompass the learning priority that kaiako have associated with Rongomatāne.


“Tamariki will develop respect for the needs and wellbeing of themselves and others. Their relationship with taiao/environment is based on whakapapa, respect and aroha. Tamariki will grow in their unique identity and mana”. – Mayfield learning priority

There are so many ways to explore the inter-relatedness of people and all of nature through the family of Ranginui and Papatūānuku!


Clearing weeds and old leaves.

The corn in flower.