Kowaiwhai Transformations

Every student in Room 2 designed their own kowhawhai patterns, in a project which combined artistic expression with mathematical concepts, cultural appreciation and collaboration.

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Kowhaiwhai patterns are Māori decorative designs, traditionally found on whare rafters and waka paddles. They feature intricate and repetitive designs, which carry a unique meaning and tell a story. To begin our learning, we explored some of the traditional shapes and elements found on kowhawhai patterns. We looked at examples of traditional panels, and discussed the meaning of different motifs and patterns. 

In mathematics, we had been learning about the three fundamental types of transformation: rotation, reflection and translation. We explored how these transformations affect shapes, patterns and objects and looked at some examples in everyday life. 

With a growing understanding of transformations, we began creating our kowhaiwhai patterns. Armed with pencils and their imaginations, individual students began by outlining their designs on pieces of grid paper. The intricate patterns started to take shape, with each student incorporating unique elements based on the motifs we had learned about. Erin chose a koiri pattern for her design, symbolising nature and self reflection. Lilly chose to add elements of rauru patterns with two koru merging,  symbolising a journey of learning.

Once the initial outlines were complete, it was time to bring the kowhaiwhai patterns to life. Using red and black markers, students filled their designs, paying attention to balance and  contrast. This was a careful process for students like Samuel and Stanley who had created detailed and intricate patterns.

Next came the transformative aspect of the project. Each student selected a particular transformation technique to apply to their patterns. Some chose rotation, turning their designs. Others chose reflection, flipping their patterns horizontally. And finally, some students translated their patterns, shifting their designs to the left or right. Sam G translated his koru pattern to great effect, while Paddy and Declan chose to rotate their koiri designs.

I rotated my pattern by turning it

I moved my design across, so the pattern was translated

My pattern is reflected because it is flipped

In the spirit of teamwork and collaboration, our kowhaiwhai patterns were combined to make one large panel that was displayed in the classroom.

2024 Bucher

Jonas Bucher

I grew up on a farm near Whakamaru with my parents and four brothers. I have fond memories of growing up in the countryside and attending a rural primary school. My intermediate and highschool years were spent in Taupō, and I studied to become a teacher in Christchurch. I feel at home in Taupō, and am excited to be joining the Wairakei community.

My journey as an educator has allowed me to work both overseas, and in New Zealand in a variety of academic settings. I am passionate about learning, and love sharing this passion with the younger generations of today's world. My favourite thing about being a teacher is allowing students to spark their interests, pursue their curiosities and unlock their capabilities. I strive to create a positive and fun environment, in which children can thrive and grow.

Outside of school, I live an active lifestyle. I play football for Taupō AFC, and social cricket. I enjoy camping and travelling around the country with my partner Briana. I love spending time with my friends and family and being outdoors as much as possible.

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