SPARKLERS / Identity and culture

Hikitia te hā

Traditional Māori breathing and mindfulness sequences.
Connections with the NZ Curriculum and Mental Health Education Guide (learn more)

Learning outcomes

Tamariki have knowledge of traditional Māori breathing and mindfulness, having taken part in a sensory experience.

He aha ai? – Why we love it

Focusing on our breathing is a very helpful and basic practice for becoming more mindful. Combining it with some simple actions makes it even better.

Hikitia te Hā is a simple breathing exercise that anyone can learn. Practicing Hikitia te Hā on a daily basis with simple, open-hearted attention can help us become more aware of te hā (the breath) and be more present in each moment.


Ask tamariki some of the ways they focus and find calm.

Acknowledge these are all great things to do.

Say: A great way to become more aware of what you’re doing and how you’re feeling is to spend a few minutes each day practicing mindfulness.

Hikitia te Hā is a simple breathing exercise that can help you to become more mindful and relaxed. By becoming more aware of te hā (the breath), Hikitia te Hā allows us to be more present in the moment, and calms us.

Hei mahi - What to do

We recommend running through the sequence with tamariki without too much ‘explanation’. There may be lots of giggles to begin with, but generally tamariki will join in and the surprisingly the group will complete Hikitia te Hā calmer (than when they began!).

Here is the video to make a start!

What next?

We'd suggest repeating this activity whenever you'd like to have a calm moment. We also hear, students sometimes do it on their own... ka pai!

To help you mix it up, All Right? has developed three new Hikitia te Hā sequences. Give them a go using the videos below.

Hikitia te hā: Taiaha version

Hikitia te hā: Tai chi version

Hikitia te hā: Yoga version

Extension ideas

Our whānau page also features articles on the people involved in these videos and how taiaha, tai chi and yoga help them connect to their culture and provide a way to be mindful and reach calm and happy ways of being:

Sparklers at Home

If you think it may be useful for whānau to give Hikitia te Hā a go, simply copy and paste the following 'blurb' into an email or your home-learning programme as an introduction.

In the classroom we've been practising Hikitia te Ha (a indigenous breathing exercise) because it's an excellent strategy for relaxing and calming our bodies and minds. Understanding the importance of relaxing our breathing means we're better able to manage big emotions - which as we know, is important as adults too!

Sparklers at Home has the same activity Hikitia Te Hā which we've been practising in the classroom, as an activity ready for home use. It would be great if you could give this a try with your child, and practice with them too. They'll be familiar with it, so it will be exciting for them to take you through it.

Looking after you

Foster the hauora of your kaiako and team

Learn more