Manu aute Kite making
- Physical activity
- Movement concepts and motor skills
- Years 1–4
- Years 5–8
- Years 9–10
Explore and create manu aute (kites).
- explore shape and line and use construction techniques with customary materials to make manu aute
- apply knowledge of line, shape, and proportion and use construction techniques with customary materials to make and fly
- talk about their own and others' manu aute
- talk about why people make manu aute and how they use them
- demonstrate a willingness to accept the challenges in learning how to fly kites made from natural materials
- investigate a variety of ways manu aute have been constructed using different media and talk about the different ideas they convey
- develop ideas in response to research and use their imagination to apply them to making manu aute from customary materials
- investigate the purposes of customary manu aute and when and where they were used.
In this activity ākonga experience the fun and challenge of creating and using objects made from natural materials. They investigate and reflect on customary ways of making objects and consider their purposes in early Māori and other cultures, and today.
Ākonga think about what resources they can use from te taiao, the natural environment, to make a customary kite. Using knowledge from local whauna, hapū and iwi, or other resources, ākonga discuss tikanga associated with the collection of local environmental resources.
Ākonga listen to stories about manu tukutuku (kites) and look at images of different types of customary Māori manu tukutuku. They talk about the range of shapes and what the shapes remind them of in their own world. They talk about the materials that were used to make kites and share their own experiences of kites. They consider the differences, for example, between the materials used then and now, and the reasons for these differences.
Talk to them about the small, easily managed kites that were made for children to fly. Look carefully at images of kites to see the parts that make up a kite. Talk about the materials used then that are still available today, for example, toetoe (sedge grass) for the frame, raupō (bulrush) leaves sewn together for the skin, and harakeke (flax) strips knotted together to make a string for lashing and flying.
Try to access customary materials such as raupō, harakeke, and toetoe. Where this is not possible, select substitutes with help from ākonga, such as string, paper, plastic, and bamboo, or make rods from rolled newspaper.
In pairs, ākonga will build a frame for a manu taratahi (kite). For added guidance and instructions, see pages 104–106 of Te Manu Tukutuku, the Māori Kite (Maysmor, 2001).
- Lay two pieces of toetoe into a V shape, then a third lengthwise in the middle of the V.
- Place a fourth toetoe piece across the other three, about 60 centimetres down the middle stem, to form a triangle.
- Use four pieces of wool/string to lash the toetoe pieces securely as a frame. This is the manu taratahi shape.
- Lay the raupō leaves on top of the framework. Discuss ways of joining the raupō leaves together to make a surface that will hold air.
- Discuss the need for a tail and what it could be made of.
Ākonga talk about their manu tukutuku; the way lines and shapes can be seen. They discuss the materials they used and what it was like to make the kites. They discuss why people make kites.
Ākonga will see the fragility of the frame, its skin, and the string that keeps it tethered to the earth. They could think about the effects of rain and strong winds on a kite. The kite will need to be handled carefully, and you can relate this to the need to care for and respect the environment.
Ākonga look at images of different types of customary Māori manu aute and talk about the components, scale, range of shapes, and details. They investigate the range of materials used and how kites were used to convey different ideas. They research how customary kites were constructed and flown, why they were made, and what significance they had for Māori.
Ākonga brainstorm ideas they would like their kite to convey and make drawings of possible approaches, with notes about suitable materials, construction methods, and other details. Talk with them about the materials that were used in the past and are still available today; for example, toetoe for the frame, raupō leaves sewn together for the skin, and harakeke strips knotted together to make a string for lashing and flying.
Try to access customary materials such as raupō, harakeke, toetoe, manuka, and feathers. Where this is not possible, select substitutes with help from ākonga, such as string, paper, plastic and bamboo, or make rods from rolled newspaper.
Possible kite forms ākonga could consider, include the manu taratahi (as for level 1) or the one-point kite, named after the plume that projects out of the top.
The construction methods and materials will depend on the type of kite ākonga choose to make.
For instructions, see Te Manu Tukutuku, the Māori Kite (Maysmor, 2001): the manu taratahi (page 104), images of the horewai (page 41), and the manu patiki (the flatfish or flounder kite on page 44). Ākonga could even consider making a bird man kite (pages 42 and 43).
Once they select a type of kite to make, ākonga will need to draw its shape, adding notes on materials, approaches to construction, and any details they will include on their kite.
- They will need to gather materials, trial methods of lashing, make strings, and so on.
- They make their kite and trial its flying ability.
- They experiment with it by holding the middle strut and tossing it with a pushing action into a glide path. If the kite glides in a reasonably straight line and floats, then the kite is ready for its string. If not, then the ākonga needs to work out where the kite is imbalanced and make minor adjustments to it.
- Once the ākonga has balanced the kite, the next phase is tying the string and taking the kite outside for final flight.
Ākonga talk about their experience of making a kite; how they managed the materials and construction techniques. They talk about the ideas their own and others' kites convey and think about the reasons people have made kites over time and in different societies.
The flying of the kite could be used as a starting point for looking at the movements associated with flight, and dance activities could centre on this.
Ākonga can show their kites to children in junior classes and explain how natural materials were traditionally used to construct manu aute. Ākonga can use peer tutoring – tuakana/teina (older/younger) – to help younger ākonga construct a kite.
Kite building can also be linked to aspects of the technology curriculum or used as a school technology challenge.