Authentic resources in the cultural space can be so creative! We love hearing how you use them with your students and children to engage, teach and tell stories. With a strong focus on embedding cultural perspectives into the Early Childhood Education Curriculum, Te Whāriki, our goal, as always, is to support you in your teaching practice.  



New Zealand’s national early childhood education curriculum, Te Whāriki, is based on the principles of empowerment, holistic development, family and community, and relationships. It’s a bicultural curriculum that affirms the identities, languages and cultures of all children, whānau, kaiako and communities. 


From this bicultural foundation, the early childhood curriculum affirms and celebrates cultural differences, and aims to help children gain a positive awareness of their own and other cultures. It enables all peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand to weave their perspectives, values, cultures, and languages into the early learning setting. 


We’re excited to show you what’s new this year and how to make the most of these resources. From books and manipulatives to puppets and decor, we’ve rounded up the best new cultural resources in 2024 right here. (Remember to check out our tried & trusted favourites too!) 


Magnetic magic 


We have a new selection of interactive magnetic manipulatives from Learning Toolbox that are as educational as they are fun. They’re awesome to help with the development of fine motor skills, plus these durable magnets adhere to any metal surface or whiteboard, so you and your little learners can use them in lots of zones. These magnet sets create a wonderful bilingual learning system to aid learners and educators. Each Māori word magnet shows the English translation in small text as a learning aid. Translations are listed on the back of the packet to help educators. Each set fits and works beautifully with other magnets in the range. 


Magnetic NZ Maori Months  


Learn the words for months of the year in te reo Māori with this 21 magnet pack. These are perfect as part of setting up a daily room date! 


Magnetic NZ Maori Animals  


Discover the words for every day animals in te reo Māori with this 63 magnet set. Help your little ones learn the names of farm animals and pets, as well as well-known native animals.  


Magnetic NZ Maori Weather  


Discover the weather and seasons in te reo Māori with this 24-magnet pack. With fun images and the words for today and tomorrow, this set is ideal for interactive fun and daily practice.  


Magnetic NZ Maori Emotions  



Koa means happy. Manahau means excited! Help children discover words for feelings and emotions in Māori with this 35 magnet pack. It’s great for increasing vocabulary in Māori, as well as practising emotional literacy.  


Mix & Match Magnetic Families 



With modern family vibes and a variety of skin tones, the children in your centre can have fun mixing and matching these 32 illustrated double-sided blocks to create contemporary families, work on their fine motor skills and develop hand-eye coordination. The blocks have powerful embedded magnets, making it easy for children to put together families as unique as their own. Lots of fun ahead! 



Puppet play 


Puppets make a great way for children to learn through watching or play. Puppets have the potential to improve language skills, creativity and social awareness. Children love to have ‘conversations’ with a puppet. They’re at the heart of role-play, and each verbal interaction with their puppet encourages language development too. 

With comfortable and super soft cushioning, these Māori boy/girl puppets each wear a taonga representing strength and courage. Each is dressed in a traditional Māori kapa haka outfit. We love these puppets and think you will too! 


Hand Puppet Māori Boy  hand puppet boy




Hand Puppet Māori Girl




Cultural dolls 


It’s been shown that having a cultural variety of dolls in a learning environment encourages a child’s self-confidence, self-acceptance, self-esteem and cultural identity, which are critical for a child’s development. Culturally diverse dolls are used to enhance children’s connection to the stories and elicit their understanding of the social diversity being raised through the doll’s stories.  

Designed in collaboration with Takapaukura, a Māori Education consultancy, these first two gorgeously soft and cuddly dolls are each dressed in a kapa haka outfit. Each wears a taonga, representing strength and courage. With embroidered detailing and soft fabrics, these dolls are great for learning through play. Each doll is 40 (H) cm, made from 100% polyester fibre and can be gently hand-washed in water. 


cultural dolls


Kapa Haka Boy Soft Doll  

The boy doll’s face is doing a gender-appropriate kapa haka expression of a whetero and pute.  

Kapa Haka Girl Soft Doll 

The girls doll’s face is doing the gender-appropriate kapa haka expression of a pukana. 

Pasifika Girl Soft Doll 

This Pasifika-themed soft doll wears a red and white floral outfit with a matching hairband.  

Maori and South Pacific Dolls and Puppets Set of 5 

Why not enjoy the whole set?! The new MTA ‘kit saver’ lets you set up your cultural play space with the set of five kapa haka dolls and puppets, traditionally dressed and ready for role-play! 



Books and games 


These new resources bring Māori and Pacific stories to life, as well as well as celebrate Aotearoa’s birds and nature. They make great new cultural resource additions to your book library that your little readers will love. Pull up a seat, and let’s read and play! 


Matariki Card Game Set 

Matariki Card Game Set

The pre-dawn rising of the star cluster Matariki is significant to Māori and is referred to as ‘Te tau hou’, the new year. (Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades, a star cluster in the constellation Taurus. Pleiades, the Greek name for the cluster, comes from seven sisters of Greek legend. This is reminiscent of the Māori and Pacific stories that say Matariki is a mother surrounded by her six daughters). These card games encourage children to learn the 9 stars of Matariki and the history behind them. They include the classic card games of Go fish, Who am I? and Memory, all with a Matariki theme! 


The Promise of Puanga: A Story for Matariki 

The Promise of Puanga: A Story for Matariki

This beautifully illustrated book tells of a bright new star in the winter sky – Puanga, cousin to the Matariki sisters. Each year, she appears to the people of Aotearoa, a special sign for those unable to see Matariki, that winter and the Māori New Year are coming. This addition to Scholastic’s Matariki range introduces readers to the Puanga star, which is celebrated for Māori New Year and the coming of winter in place of Matariki along parts of the West Coast of New Zealand. 


How Maui Found the Secret of Fire 

How Maui Found the Secret of Fire

Here, iconic author and illustrator Peter Gossage tells the beloved Maori myth about Maui and Mahuika, the goddess of fire. Maui the trickster wants to know what will happen if he puts out all the fires in his pā. When his people wake, they’re angry and Maui must go to the volcano to visit Mahuika, the goddess of fire. Peter Gossage’s superbly retold stories of Maui are New Zealand classics. 


Counting for Kiwi Babies 


Counting for Kiwi Babies

This lovely best-selling bilingual English-Māori board book for young children and babies is a great addition to your centre’s book nook. Children can count from one to ten in English and Maori with the help of unique New Zealand birds. Beautiful pictures of New Zealand birds are the perfect introduction to numbers and counting for Kiwi babies! 


Pukeko Counts to 10 

Pukeko Counts to 10

Pukeko Counts to 10 is another beautiful bilingual counting board book for young children featuring the birds of Aotearoa, from poet Ben Brown and illustrator Helen Taylor. Your little readers can go and visit Pukeko, and count up the birds together in Maori and English! It features durable card leaves that little hands love and gorgeous page designs that assist developing minds with nature, number and word recognition.  


Te Reo Reward Certificates  

Te Reo Reward Certificates

After a busy day of learning, congratulate your little hard workers and achievers with Te Reo Reward Certificates. Brightly coloured and fun, these A5 certificates will be highly prized rewards and recognition of effort! There are six designs and 30 matte paper certificates in a pack. Time for rewards! 



Freshen your space 


Culturally themed decor in your early childhood space makes for an inviting and inclusive environment, so children feel represented! Once you set up some basics (that we have right here!), encourage your little learners to personalise their space through artwork and creations, further fostering their sense of ownership and pride.  


Maori Alphabet Wall Border 

Maori Alphabet Wall Border 


Those little minds can practise the Māori alphabet with this easy-to-hang wall border made from high-quality gloss card. The bold, bright images make it easy to see from a distance, which encourages young learners to be excited about the alphabet in Māori. Simply stick or staple these on the wall in their correct order. The pack of seven sheets (each 10.9 cm tall x 51.5 cm long) makes a full wall border that’s 3.6 m long! It’s durable, colourfast and designed in New Zealand. 


Pasifika Wall Border 

Pasifika Wall BorderThis Pasifika Wall Border is also a great way to decorate your space to reflect a multicultural New Zealand and add a Pacific touch! Also New Zealand-designed, this border pack of seven sheets is made from the same high-quality gloss card as the alphabet border pack and measures the same!  


Good Morning Bunting 

Good Morning Bunting 

And now for some bunting! This beautiful hand-made Good Morning Bunting teaches how to say good morning in a range of different languages and looks at some of the traditional clothing children might wear. It Includes Māori, Japanese, Indian, Australian, Italian, Chinese and Vietnamese! 


Consider your centre’s walls and borders sorted!! 



Fly some flags! 


However, you might want to also add a flag or two to your cultural repertoire and walls! These iconic flags measure 150 (W) x 90 (H) cm with fastenings attached at one end to easily wear as a cape (when they’re not on the walls or up a flagpole!). They’re made from polyester and an environmentally friendly ink with a UV resistance level of 6-7 (so they can live up to 6 months outside before fading occurs). 


Māori Flag 

Māori Flag

The Tino Rangatiratanga flag is known as the national Māori flag. The design represents the balance of natural forces with each other and represents the Māori people as a whole. 


New Zealand Fern Flag 

New Zealand Fern Flag

To add to your flag kit, and represent your allegiance, this New Zealand Silver Fern Flag is a great way to show support for New Zealand teams.  


New Zealand Inspired Cushions 

 New Zealand Inspired Cushions Who’s ready to get comfy and relax? These durable foam-filled cushions help educators to create an authentic environment that represents both local and wider communities. Create comfortable play spaces, reading areas or furnish your reception space! This set of three features Fern, Fantail and Koru designs, inspired by New Zealand scenery and landscapes. Naturally, the cotton/polyester covers are ready for rough and tumble, so they’re removable and machine-washable in cold water. Big tick!  

Extra good news: These cushions have been treated with an antimicrobial product that can kill up to 99.9% of odour-causing bacteria and help prevent the infestation of dust mites. This treatment also inhibits the growth of mould, mildew, and fungus. (This treatment will wear away over time with washing, so it won’t last forever. It will depend on how often the cushion covers are washed and how they are dried.)



Ready to support your teaching practice with some amazing new cultural resources? Hit the links and please let us know how your children or students connect with these authentic resources.

Happy teaching! 


Shop the Cultural Shopping list

Discover more of MTA’s cultural resources here. 



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