Matariki cel­e­bra­tion Thurs­day

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By CHE BAKER

Queen­stown’s first cel­e­bra­tion of Matariki, the Maori New Year, is on Thurs­day.

Event or­gan­iser Sunny Sky said a com­mu­nity gath­er­ing would take place at Queen­stown Me­mo­rial Park to celebrate Matariki and mother earth.

The cel­e­bra­tion was about ‘‘em­brac­ing our land and as­tron­omy’’ with a cul­tural lan­tern gath­er­ing, Sky said.

Matariki is the Maori name for a clus­ter of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid- win­ter, late May or early June.

For many Maori, it her­alds the start of a new year.

Matariki means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘lit­tle eyes’ (mata riki).

Sky said the South Is­land was the best place to see the clus­ter of stars.

Telling of the Matariki story, kapa haka and haka per­for­mances, fire poi, tra­di­tional Maori food stalls and moko sten­cilling will all be a part of the event.

Funds raised from the event would be used to sup­port the newly formed Wakatipu Waka Ama Club and Te Iti O Tahuna kapa haka groups.

Kapa haka group mem­ber Kiri Mohi, Matariki cel­e­bra­tion co­or­di­na­tor Sunny Sky, Wakatipu Waka Ama Club pres­i­dent Frances Pi­a­cun, kapa haka group mem­ber Sheree Horomona and Montes­sori chil­dren Thea Richards, 4, Myah Arnott, 3, Ruby Thorn­burgh, 4 , Max Black­bourn, 4, Siena Dorn and Indi Redelli, 4, hold the lanterns they made and will re­lease at the Queen­stown Matariki cel­e­bra­tion on Thurs­day.

Photo: Che Baker

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