Today’s Matariki celebrations signal the maturing of Aotearoa New Zealand, says Māori leader Sir Pou Temara.
A ceremony attended by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and other dignitaries was held in Wellington to mark the first national public holiday in New Zealand for Matariki.
On a still Wellington morning at Te Papa, the hautapu ceremony was led by Sir Pou Temara and an array of tohunga.
“Today is a moment in time. This is a moment that future generations will look upon and say this is when we came of age,” Sir Pou said.
Matariki is the start of the Māori New Year Matariki – a time for celebration, remembrance, growth and renewal and events to acknowledge this have been organised across the country.
RNZ is marking Matariki with special programming throughout the day with highlights including a live broadcast of the celebrations from Te Papa hosted by Julian Wilcox and Māni Dunlop and an interview with renowned Māori astronomer Professor Rangi Mātāmua.
Celebrating Matariki. Video: RNZ News
‘Unites us under the stars’
Prime Minister Ardern recalled announcing the holiday in Rotorua in September 2020 and the joy that greeted the news, especially among young people.
She said she had witnessed several special moments this week, as people prepared for Matariki, including during her visit yesterday to Wainouimata Intermediate School to watch tamariki stage a performance of the many stories of Matariki.
The prime minister said the public holiday should not divide us by Māori ancestry or other, rather “it unites us under the stars of Aotearoa”.
“Matariki provides us with a chance to reflect; to think of those we have lost and to prepare and share a sense of hope and optimism for the future.
“I can’t think of a better moment in time for us to take up what Matariki has to offer us as individuals but also as a nation.”
Matariki offered “a space where there is room for us all,” she said.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.
Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz