News: Matariki comes to South Wairarapa

22 June 2022

This week New Zealand will hold its very first public holiday celebrating Matariki, the start of the Māori New Year, sparking a number of local events.

In Māori culture, the reappearance of the Matariki cluster of stars signify a time to reflect on the past year, celebrate the present, and plan for the year ahead.

The public holiday marking Matariki this year falls on Friday 24 June. To mark this very special occasion, Featherston’s Pae Tū Mōkai trust has organised a Matariki festival, including a Kapa Haka concert (Anzac Hall, Thursday 23 June), a cemetery acknowledgement of loved ones who have passed (Friday 24 June), storytelling workshops, a community hangi, an overnight stay on a marae, Matariki dinner, and many other events. Find the schedule here or go to the Featherston Matariki Festival Facebook page

Also touching down for Matariki is the Stardome, an inflatable planetarium which has been loaned to the Wairarapa Library Service by Te Papa. Many schools have been invited to visit the Stardome, guided by the service’s STEM advisor Scott Ogilvie, who will show our tamariki how to find Matariki in the dawn sky. The public will also get a chance to view the Stardome at Featherston’s Anzac Hall on Thursday June 28. Sessions are free but spaces are limited. See the library service for a free booking

In Greytown, Cobblestones will also hold a Matariki event on Saturday July 2. There will be Matariki story workshops and traditional games as well as other Mid-Winter Christmas games and food, and Matariki star-making in the schoolhouse.

Happy Matariki!

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