Our Matariki Stories
We have been learning about Matariki as a team: reflecting on the past year, assessing our present situations, and considering our hopes and dreams for the coming year. A huge thanks to April for leading us through this process.
As a group, we also shared stories how our experiences over the past year might be used to illustrate the different stars of Matariki. We acknowledge that our stories might not fit perfectly within each star’s meaning but, for us, this time of sharing has been an important part of the process of reflection, of learning about Matariki, and of being thankful for what has been and hopeful about what is to come.
(the star connected to food grown in the ground)
> Several instructors shared stories about taking clients on walks and stopping to teach them about which plants are edible. Whether it is totara and kahikatea berries which are delicious, or horopito leaves which we sell as “raspberry leaves” but are quite peppery, or kawakawa leaves which taste great in a cup of tea!
(the star connected to food that comes from the sky)
> While on staff retreat, we discovered a banana passionfruit vine while on one of the offshore islands in the Mahurangi area. This caused great excitement as Jeff (Auckland programme manager) remembered eating them as a child and was able to introduce them to the rest of the group.
(the star connected to rain from the sky)
> Anita (Auckland programme assistant) joked that Waipunarangi is meant to represent rain from the sky but the flood in our Auckland office felt like rain from the ceiling!
(the star connected to fresh water and eels)
> Anneke (Christchurch adventure therapy clinician) takes her “Inspire” groups to plant native trees along rivers in Christchurch. The planting helps restore the water quality and also helps connect the participants to the local area.
> Tim (CEO) led a programme with the Civil Aviation Authority and shared how they had stopped on a bridge over a small stream and were watching the trout swimming underneath. They were impressed by the ability to see the life that was present in that space for the group to see and awed to share in that life, while also being able to take the water into their drink bottles to sustain themselves as well.
(the star connected to sea water and seafood)
> Joe (Auckland instructor) took a group of students Kelston Boys High School in west Auckland, through a Te Manawa-funded outdoor adventure programme, and they managed to catch a fish off Cornwallis wharf.
> Also, on the Auckland staff retreat earlier this year, the group went kayaking around the east coast of Auckland. One day, Tim (CEO) said there would be no food for lunch except what they caught themselves. Luckily, Grace and Anna (instructors) caught some nice big fish!
(the star connected to the winds of the sky)
> Andy (Christchurch programme manager) took students from a local high school on kayaking trip around Christchurch. At one point, the group linked their kayaks together and then erected a sail made out of sticks and a tarp. Andy shared that the wind allowed them to move faster than they would have been able to by simply paddling.
(the star connected to health and wellbeing)
> All our programmes focus on health and wellbeing. Not just physical wellbeing, but also emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing too. One of our Adventure Therapy outcomes is “Woven into Community / Whanaungatanga.” For example, during our family camps, one of our big focuses is to allow each family to create memories and shared experiences. In these moments we are strengthening the wellbeing of those families.
(the star connecting Matariki to our deceased)
> The founder of Adventure Specialties Trust, Lyndsay Simpkin, passed away a few years ago. Last year, we published a book of his writing. We want to keep his vision for Adventure Specialties Trust alive, and we honour his memory.
> Joel (Auckland instructor) shared a great moment on a recent “Journey” programme with Kaipara College. The group were hiking through native bush, when a few of the students stopped and placed their hands on a large prominent kahikatea tree. While drinking the water that dripped down off the leaves, they shared stories about their grandparents that had recently passed away. They talked about feeling a sense of connection to their grandparents, simply by touching this ancient tree.
(the star that we offer our dreams and aspirations for the year ahead)
> A lot of our programmes include goal setting: asking participants to think about their hopes and dreams, what they might want to accomplish, how they might be able to make that happen, and who are the people in their support system that could help them.
> On a recent open enrolment camp, the group spent time watching the stars, finding glow worms, being in the river, having moments together to connect with each other and be present in nature. These “outdoorsy” things are activities that the group wasn’t used to seeing and possibly didn’t previously have the opportunity to appreciate or be comfortable in. These shared experiences can connect us to Hiwa-I-te-rangi.
> Following one of our family camps, we ended up initiating a mentor/mentee relationship between Oli, one of our instructors, and one of the teenagers on the camp. This means we can continue working with the boy, in the hopes of bringing about more positivity and encouragement into his life.
> Adventure Specialties Trust, as a non-profit organisation, also has things that we are hopeful for, looking forward to, praying for. We always have grants that we are applying for, to fund programmes for participants and groups that need financial help. We are also looking for new instructors for our Auckland team, to help with the increasing popularity of our “Adventure Therapy” and “Adventure With Purpose” programmes.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to these stories (Jeff, Joel, Anita, Anneke, Tim, Mark, Nathalie, Oli, Brenda)
How about you?
Do you have any stories from your experiences this year that connect to any of Matariki’s stars? We would love to hear them!