So today is the official start of Matariki, for some time now there has been a push for Matariki to become a public holiday, Minister of Maori Affairs Dr Pita Sharples last week announced the Maori Party had drafted a bill to make Matariki a public holiday.  See what the Prime Minister thinks of the idea here.

Some accounts have Matariki as a mother and her 6 daughters assisting Te R? as he turns around and heads south.  I like this story better than the Greek version of Pleiades which has the seven daughters of Pleione and Atlas turned into stars to ‘save them from Orion’s dishonourable intentions’.  Where are the kick-arse goddesses of legend when you need them?  In Japanese legend the sun goddess Amaterasu was lured out of her cave by a good old bit of burlesque dancing and silliness performed by the voluptuous goddess of merriment Ama-no-Uzume.  That is certainly one way of coaxing the sun out of a funk.

There are a range of things around Wellington planned help get the Matariki celebrations rolling:

  • Te Papa is planning a whole range of events kicking off on the 25th of June until the 12th of July, coming correct with the free Seven Sisters concert from 6.00pm on Thursday 25th.  The Star Lab sessions start from 6.30pm on Thursday too and are bound to be popular so book to avoid disappointment. 
  • Submit photos for Te Papa’s interactive display of Matariki images before the 28th June and you may see your image go large on the big screens outside Te Papa.
  • NZ on Screen have a fantastic Matariki collection curated by Whai Ngata which is definitely worth a look.
  • NZ Post has put out a set of hei tiki stamps to commemorate Matariki (I love how the tiki look like they are dancing on slideshow).

People are celebrating with friends and wh?nau by making kites, heading to the beach to look at the night sky, making mulled wine with friends and generally just reflecting on the fact that we have an indigenous mid-winter celebration to rival Christmas.

Let us know what you do this month, we would love to hear about it and if you would like to see more/buy some of Taryn Beri’s work (image above entitled MAREIKURA TAHI – 09) let us know and we will put you in touch (she also does T? Moko designs).