Te Papa Matariki festival an honour for organiser
It’s time to make another set of New Year’s resolutions.
Matariki, Maori New Year, is this month and to celebrate, Suzanne Tamaki has organised the Matariki festival at Te Papa.
Tamaki, born in Porirua, was more than happy to take up the reins for this year’s festival, the third year in succession she has done the job.
‘‘It’s an honour to be left in charge of one of the biggest events of the year. It’s always very exciting to organise.’’
Matariki marks the rising of the Matariki star constellation, also known as Pleiades, and signals the start of the Maori New Year. It is considered to be one of the biggest events on the Maori calendar.
Tamaki believes the importance behind Matariki lies with giving thanks for the previous year and acknowledging growth.
‘‘It’s a time to reflect on what has been, [what has] changed and the evolution of people and culture.’’
After organising her first Matariki festival at Te Papa in 2009, Tamaki has seen the event grow.
‘‘It’s not only a celebration of the previous year, it [the festival] provides a platform for young Maori artists and people to showcase their talent and culture.’’
Tamaki was working with the Pacific Arts Festival when she was asked to join Te Papa’s event team, just before the 2009 Matariki festival.
She has also organised fashion shows in collaboration with the Pacific Arts Festival and believes that helped her form strong contacts within the Maori community.
For this year’s Matariki festival, Tamaki has selected local and national artists, and acts include everything from concerts to weaving classes.
‘‘We have pulled the programme back [ from last year’s] a little bit to focus on the main events, the most popular ones, so that our resources are well spent on what the public likes.’’
Tamaki said the festival would appeal to anyone keen to learn more about New Zealand culture.
‘‘It’s an explosion of culture. It’s everywhere in the museum and comes in all different forms,’’ Tamaki said.
When asked if she would take on next year’s event, there was no doubt.
‘‘Yes, hands down, I love it. It’s a big job, but its very rewarding.’’
The satisfaction comes from seeing the public interact and learn from the festival, she said. ‘‘It’s kind of overwhelming. ‘‘You have this dream of how it will go, but seeing it happen it makes your heart swell, you realise there is so much talent, so much culture in our country.’’
The Matariki Festival is free and runs from June 9 to 26.