Week of celebrations marks Puanga Matariki

Published on 07 July 2020

Matariki 2020.

The rise of the Matariki stars heralds the beginning of the Aotearoa New Year – a time to reflect on the past, celebrate the present and plan for the future.

Horowhenua District Council and Muaūpoko Tribal Authority are marking the occasion with a diverse week-long programme of free events, including performances, feasts, arts and crafts, cooking, activities, and of course astronomy.

The programme runs from 13 July to 19 July, with plenty of fun on offer at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō in Levin and Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom in Foxton, as well as things you can do at home.

Civic and Community Events Coordinator Melissa Steedman said the programme offers ways for people of all ages, abilities and ethnicities to join in celebrating Matariki.

A highlight of the programme is a presentation by Professor Rangi Matamua, ‘Living by the Stars’. Professor Matamua comes from a long line of Māori astronomers and will share the celestial knowledge handed down to him by his tipuna in a seminar at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō from 6pm on Thursday 16 July.

Returning from a popular performance supporting the Modern Māori Quartet at last year’s Matariki celebrations is soulful rhythm and blues singer/songwriter Amba Holly. This year Ms Holly headlines her own musical performance at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō at 2pm on Sunday 19 July.

Local kapa haka groups Taitoko ki te Rawhiti Tuakana, Ngā Kōtuku o Punahau, and Te Kōtahitanga o Punahau add their talents to the mix with a performance at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō from 4pm on Saturday 18 July, followed by a hangi community kai.

Te Kokiri Development Consultancy is offering the opportunity to learn how to weave your own flax star – the perfect Matariki craft. Join one of the 12pm workshops at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō on Tuesday 14 July or at Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom on Friday 17 July.

A stunning deep space photo exhibition by astronomer and philosophy lecturer Dr Stephen Chadwick runs in the Shared Gallery at Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom throughout Matariki.

A special part of the celebrations will be a public karakia at Lake Horowhenua, to be held at Muaūpoko Park at first light on Monday 13 July. 

For those who prefer to join the Matariki celebrations from home, there will be kite-making, colouring in, and opportunities to learn about cooking Matariki kai with Easy Eats host Hera Te Kurapa. Ms Te Kurapa invites viewers into her kitchen for a Matariki cooking demonstration at 6pm on Wednesday 15 July on the Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō Facebook page.

For more information, see www.tetakere.org.nz/Events