Matariki Festival starts
Waikato families can learn more about the cultural significance of Matariki by attending one of the many public events celebrating this time of year.
Ma¯ ori New Year celebrations have become increasingly popular, with with events happening nationally.
Local Matariki events provide a fun opportunity for interactive exploration with activities ranging from performance nights, kite flying day, Ma¯ ori art exhibitions, Matariki night market, Matariki menu challenge and much more.
The organiser of the Matariki Kite Flying Day at the Hamilton Gardens on June 24, Marleina Ruka, says the family event allows many Hamilton and overseas visitors to engage with kaupapa Ma¯ ori.
“The whole family may be having fun flying and weaving kites, but they are also gaining a better understanding of Matariki and what that means.”
With a variety of free activities on offer at venues such as the Hamilton City Library, the Waikato Museum, Creative Waikato and Tai Wa¯ nanga Ruakura there is plenty for the community to get amongst.
Whiti is an open mic night that celebrates regional performance talent and has previously featured local singer songwriters, dancers and spoken word poets.
“In te reo, Whiti means to shine,” Era Peihopa from Creative Waikato says.
“So this event is a platform celebrating the ‘shining stars’ that perform on the night. Each year the standard of talent in our own backyard blows the audience away”.
The Matariki Festival opening event is organised by Friends of the Hamilton Gardens and is called Karanga o te Tau Hou.
This event is celebrated on the nearest Friday to honour King Korok¯ı’s birthday.
The special dawn ceremony was held today in Te Parapara Gardens (Hamilton Gardens) at 6am.