Looking to the skies and wel­com­ing in the new year

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS - By MERANIA KARAURIA Tell us your news — call 350 3589 or email merania.karauria@guardian­news.co.nz

The Hub­ble has been record­ing the uni­verse for 28 years and on terra firma we get a ring­side view of the pic­tures it sends back.

The uni­verse is beau­ti­ful and awe inspiring and raises ques­tions about this in­finites­i­mally small pale blue dot called Earth float­ing among the stars and plan­ets. And here on Earth we’re still looking sky­ward as we en­ter Ma¯ ori New Year, Matariki or Puanga.

It’s a time to farewell the past, welcome the new and study the stars that de­fine this time.

There’s some­thing in­vig­o­rat­ing get­ting up be­fore dawn to gather by the awa or on Mt Ruapehu to hon­our this time in rit­ual. All eth­nic­i­ties cel­e­brate their cul­tural rit­u­als and Matariki/Puanga has now be­come an im­por­tant time in the cal­en­dar through­out the motu/ coun­try.

There’s dis­cus­sion, a wa­ger even by one colum­nist, that Matariki will be a na­tional holiday in five years time. I’m not in favour of re­plac­ing the Queen’s Birth­day holiday with Matariki but cel­e­brat­ing both days. Win­ter fa­tigue could set in and an­other long week­end could be just what we need to recharge.

Of course it would put dead­line pres­sure on us in the print me­dia. But who are we to spoil the fun.

I at­tended a Women’s Nichiren Dais­honin Bud­dhist con­fer­ence at the week­end.

It was at Sa­muel Marsden Col­lege in Karori, and we wel­comed the all-girls’ school which has gen­der-neu­tral toi­lets. The preschool is co-ed as is its high school cam­pus in Whitby. The week­end’s kau­papa was about hope and hap­pi­ness. The ex­pe­ri­ences shared by the women and the ob­sta­cles each has had to over­come were and al­ways are as­tound­ing. Th­ese ob­sta­cles are more than the ev­ery­day mat­ters we have to con­tend with. They are per­son­ally uni­verse ad­just­ing. And hap­pi­ness? That comes when we break through the ob­sta­cles; that’s the hope that we know we will over­come the ob­sta­cles that life throws at us.

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