Fun and fire­works as Matariki cel­e­bra­tions be­gin

Hawke's Bay Today - - LOCAL NEWS - By Ruby Harfield ruby.harfield@hbto­day.co.nz

Matariki kicked off in Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay on Fri­day night with a crisp evening of fun, fire­works and fab­u­lous per­for­mances.

More than 200 peo­ple at­tended the open­ing of Nga¯ti Kahun­gunu’s an­nual Matariki Wha¯nau Fes­ti­val at Te Aute Col­lege. The fes­ti­val has been held there since 2014, to cel­e­brate the start of the Ma¯ori new year.

One of the or­gan­is­ers, Zack Makoare, said the clear, win­ter night was a per­fect con­trast to the pre­vi­ous week of rain which had drenched the re­gion. “It was a lovely evening.” How­ever, num­bers were slightly down on pre­vi­ous years be­cause many peo­ple had thought the rain would con­tinue on Fri­day night.

“It had been re­ally, re­ally cold and wet.”

The evening was still chilly but peo­ple dressed up warmly and en­joyed the win­ter at­mos­phere with per­for­mances and hot food, he said.

“The en­ter­tain­ment was great . . . peo­ple loved the fire­works.

“The high­light for me was the dec­o­ra­tions of the whole night, the lights. It was beau­ti­ful.

“Lots of peo­ple com­mented on the whole thing.” Hav­ing a Matariki cel­e­bra­tion at Te Aute Col­lege meant it was ac­ces­si­ble to many ru­ral fam­i­lies who could not at­tend events in Napier or Hast­ings, Makoare said.

Per­for­mances were put on by stu­dents from a num­ber of schools in­clud­ing The Ter­race School, Waipawa School, Puke­hou School and Te Aute Col­lege.

The fes­tiv­i­ties con­tin­ued on Satur­day night with a coun­try gath­er­ing un­der the stars at Taka­pau Pri­mary School.

Peo­ple en­joyed a tug-of-war, train and bus rides, per­for­mances, food and fire­works.

Other Matariki Wha¯ nau Fes­ti­val events will be held at Flaxmere Park on June 15, Napier Sound Shell on June 16, Wairoa Com­mu­nity Cen­tre on June 22, Fred­er­ick Wise Park in Wainuiomata on June 30, Dan­nevirke Show­grounds on July 27 and Hen­ley Lake Park in Master­ton on July 28.

Peo­ple are in­vited to visit Nga¯ti Kahun­gunu’s Face­book page for more in­for­ma­tion.

Pa¯taka, an ex­hi­bi­tion cel­e­brat­ing Matariki, is at the Hast­ings Com­mu­nity Art Gallery from June 5-16.

Matariki ( Pleiades) is a group of seven stars that ap­pear on the east­ern hori­zon be­fore dawn from late May to June.

PHOTO / PAUL TAY­LOR

Te Aute Col­lege stu­dents per­form­ing at the open­ing of Nga¯ti Kahun­gunu’s an­nual Matariki Wha¯nau Fes­ti­val at Te Aute Col­lege on Fri­day night.

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