Matariki celebration Thursday
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