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.

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