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Thursday June 21, 2018

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Matariki is the Maori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter and for many Maori, it heralds the start of a new year. Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki).

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NZ Parliament event celebrates Matariki 2018 On Sunday, 24 June NZ Parliament will celebrate Matariki with a day full of fun, engaging activities for the whole whānau. “Parliament will acknowledge the rising of Matariki (the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades) which symbolises the start of a new year and a celebration of new life. Children will be able to learn about the seven stars of Matariki, and everyone will be able to hear the story of Matariki from Kura Moeahu, Parliament’s Tumu Whakarae,” said the Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Highlights of the day include: • Four art sessions, facilitated by Welling-

ton artist Fifi Colston, at which children can make a Matariki headband, or a star torch, so they can shine the seven stars of Matariki on their wall. • Three story time sessions at which children can hear the story of Matariki and learn a special karakia and waiata. A range of tours, including our popular ‘Kids in the House’ tour will also be running throughout the day and we are encouraging visitors to take a moment to reflect and leave a message of hope for the year to come on our ‘sky of stars’. Bookings are required for all activities and tours. Please see the Parliament website for details.

Te Papa wants Matariki celebrated as an event of national identity Te Papa believes Matariki should be celebrated by all New Zealanders as an indigenous event of national identity. Te Papa has marked Matariki for many years, and played an important role in revitalising interest in the event. This year, it will hold for the second time, a Matariki community ritual, along with other public events. But beyond the museum’s walls, Te Papa wants to see Matariki celebrated by all New Zealanders, as a unique expression of national unity. Dr Charles Royal, creative director of Te Papa’s Matariki programme, says the time is right for Matariki to take its place as an important national occasion. “I think people are looking for an expression of national culture - an event of national unity across the diversity of the country,” says Dr Royal “Let’s shape Matariki into such an event - for all, by all, with elements inspired by our indigenous Māori culture.” Matariki traditionally marked the end

of a lunar calendar year - according to Maramataka, the Māori lunar calendar – and the beginning of a new year. For this reason, Matariki like all cultural new year festivals around the world, has a primary theme of renewal. Dr Royal said that the themes of Matariki are universal. It is a time of renewal, a time to gather with family and friends, and a time to acknowledge those who have passed in the year gone by. “Traditionally, fires were lit and food was cooked on these fires. It is said that the aroma from the cooked food would be a conduit to release the spirits of loved ones who had died in the year gone by,” says Dr Royal. Dr Royal said calls to create a national holiday were an interesting reflection of the growing interest in Matariki. “Yes, it would be great to have it marked by a national holiday, but what is more important is that we take the time to acknowledge who we are and to express love for these islands that we call our home,” he says.

Celebrate Matariki at Space Place. Join Timotimo under the stars in the Planetarium dome for magical Matariki stories. This 45 minute session transports you to the stars and back through waiata, tāonga pūoro and movement. Matariki Dawn Viewing. See it for real. Enjoy a special opportunity to view the rise of Matariki from Tangi te Keo / Mount

Victoria summit. The Māori New year was traditionally signalled with the sighting of Matariki in the early morning eastern horizon. With help from the Wellington Astronomical Society – will have telescopes up on the viewing platform for this special early morning viewing of Matariki.


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Cook Strait News 21-06-18  

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