Matariki set to glow from Wairarapa to Wairoa.
Te Rangi Huata – Events and Promotions Manager
1 June 2021
Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi is ready to kick start their 21st annual Matariki celebrations across their tribal region from Wairarapa to Wairoa and all major centres between. “The growth has been amazing,” says Te Rangi Huata event manager for Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc. “We hosted our first Matariki in Hastings CBD in 2000 expecting a handful of friends and hundreds turned up. Our mantra has been ‘families having fun together, with food, festivity and fireworks.”
Te Rangi says the festival aims to revive the Māori tradition of marking the passage of time at the appearance of the Matariki star cluster on the eastern horizon at dawn. This signals a celebration to give thanks for the harvest and to remember loved ones lost all within a modern context.
“Our tribal mantle is spread through six regions, says te Rangi and each has arranged a series of allied events from special feasts to Māori game activities culminating in a major free outdoor community event. This year there won’t be a major Matariki event in Napier however we are planning with Te Whanganui a Orotu taiwhenua a significant event at the Napier soundshell next year”
Next year Matariki becomes a national public holiday on Friday 24 June 2022.
“Matariki is a Māori tradition for all New Zealanders to enjoy and join in”, says Te Rangi.