Matariki is identified as the Maaori New Year, when the constellation Pleiades (star cluster) rises in the sky. Traditionally, it is a time for remembering the dead and celebrating new life, however over the years Matariki has become popular as a time of observation with cultural events, manu (kites), hot-air balloons and fireworks let off to help mark the occasion.
Waikato Museum has a range of free events planned for Matariki. On 30 June, timed with the rising of Matariki, ‘Celebrate Matariki’ starts at noon and features kapa haka performances, guest speakers and creative workshops for all ages until 6pm. There is also an opportunity to visit the museum’s new Maaori astronomy exhibition Te Whaanau Maarama: The Heavenly Bodies. This ground-breaking exhibition, a collaboration between Waikato Museum and the University of Waikato, shines the spotlight on modern Maaori astronomy and examines the traditional Maaori societal view of the night sky and how it is being revitalised in the modern world.
Hamilton City Library is celebrating the Maaori New Year with ‘Matariki in the City’ — a fun, engaging day suitable for the whole whaanau. Starting at 9am with a karakia, other activities planned at the library include cultural stage performances (running until 1.45pm), manu aute (kite making), poi making and storytelling. There will also be a large manu tangata (large kite) and six small manu displayed in the library. The manu tangata has a 3m wing span and is 2m in length, an impressive sight for all to see. Both kites will be displayed until 30 June.
For information on all Waikato Museum’s Matariki events visit waikatomuseum.co.nz.
To find out about other Matariki events in the Waikato visit matarikiwaikato.nz.