Making plans for Matariki
It’s a cool morning in early winter when the tiny star cluster rises above the eastern horizon.
Such little things – you have to trick your eyes into seeing them properly – but still so significant.
You might call them the Pleiades, or M45, but Maori know them as Matariki, and their arrival marks the beginning of the season of the same name.
‘‘There are many interpretations of Matariki,’’ says Henare Kani, strategic partnerships advisor at Te Manawa.
‘‘The most general is that it’s time to prepare for planting, and planning for the year to come.
‘‘Looking back at the previous year you can eliminate mistakes, but you can also ponder upon what can be done for the future, to keep the cycle of life moving.’’
The longer nights would become a time for teaching and learning.
‘‘It’s also the time to make mokopuna,’’ says Henare with a wink.
Te Manawa will welcome Matariki on the morning of June 2, with the lighting of fires at dawn, accompanied by waiata and stories.
That evening, the beginning of a new partnership between Te Manawa and Te Wananga o Aotearoa will be celebrated at the opening of the Nga Kete Toi exhibition, which features the work of students graduating from carving, weaving and visual arts courses.
The majority of students are from this region.
‘‘By placing Nga Kete Toi in the time of Matariki, we give it its own space, its own spirit,’’ Henare says.
‘‘Having this exhibition is a great opportunity for both our institutions.’’
The exhibition will be open for two weeks only, but will become an annual event on the Te Manawa calendar.
Look out also for special Matariki shows in Te Manawa’s inflatable Starlab planetarium, and a puppet show on Queen’s Birthday.
Check the website temanawa.co.nz and its Facebook page for more details of the season’s programmes.
Matariki in your hand inside the Starlab at Te Manawa.