new zealanders rediscover maori new year

17.06.2004 By RENEE KIRIONA Just a few years ago Matariki was an event that most New Zealanders and even Maori had never heard of. But on Saturday, when the Maori New Year begins, thousands of people throughout the country will be looking to the night sky celebrating. About 99 events have been organised in the Auckland region alone to commemorate Matariki - the name given by Maori to a cluster of stars that rise on the northeastern horizon about the end of May each year. Throughout the country, there will be an explosion of fancy-dress balls, musical concerts, art exhibitions and wine and food festivals over the next two weeks to celebrate the occasion. Yet even broadcaster and documentary-maker Libby Hakaraia, who has just released the first comprehensive book about Matariki, admitted that she would have been left dumbfounded if someone had asked her what it meant just a few years ago. "I've always been fascinated by the night sky, but I have to admit that I had only heard of Matariki about two years ago." Traditionally, Matariki was used by pre-European Maori as a navigational aid, a portent on whether the coming harvests would be plentiful, and as a time to reflect. "Matariki is becoming more profiled around the motu [country], and so it should because it is something unique to our country," Ms Hakaraia said. "No other nation in the world sees it at the same time as us." Last week, the chief executive of the Maori Language Commission, Haami Piripi, called for Matariki to become a national holiday. And for Ms Hakaraia, whose daughter Oriwa celebrates her first birthday on Saturday, the call is a valid one. "Matariki is a day that all New Zealanders can claim," she said. "It's unique to our country." Ata Te Kanawa, the editor of national Maori magazine Tu Mai, said a number of businesses were cashing in on the occasion by holding events or using Matariki to promote their product. "Last year I said it might even make it to the Westpac Year Planner, which it since has." However, while many throughout the country are choosing to celebrate Matariki in a contemporary manner, 68-year-old Haare Wikiriwhi, of Rotorua, plans to do what his forefathers did. "I'm going to be plucking pikopiko [fern fronds] from the forest and going eeling in the Kaituna River." www.nzherald.co.nz #ends

3 comments:

auntyani said...

Kia Orana :: avaiki nius!
Having just arrived back to Aotearoa from Rarotonga i return to be swept up in the celebration of Matariki. Last night was the opening of 'The House of Taonga' at 35 High street in Auckland. A niu 'Salon' created by Maori artists Tracey Tawhiao and George Nuku, designed to present works of art from Maori perspective to the greater AO. The gallery will have an appointment system and interested artists are encouraged to visit and arrange weekend showings of their work. 'The House of Taonga' is situated above the Pacific gift store 'Pauanesia' and is also on the same floor as 'Rakinos' cafe, lending itself as a venue last night for the celebrations, with Emma Paki and Damm Native performing. Also, among the numerous sparkling Pacific stars at this event was one from Holiwood...Keifer Sutherland! Yes Flash! (another mortal like the rest of us!) Please contact your local city council to be sent a great booklet with the complete programme of the events in your area. Kia Manuia.

hani pai said...

Kia Ora!

the programme of events for Matariki (Aotearoa/NZ) can be found on this website:

www.matarikitauhou.co.nz

hani pai said...

Kia Ora!

the programme of events for Matariki (Aotearoa/NZ) can be found on this website:

www.matarikitauhou.co.nz