Matariki celebration at marae

Hakatere Marae committee members from left Liz Carrick, Ellie Smith, Rana Kohunui and Brenda Leonard.

Hakatere Marae is planning an evening of entertainment, food, laughter and star gazing to celebrate Matariki, and everyone is invited.

Matariki is the Maori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades which rises in midwinter and signals the Maori New Year.

Hakatere Marae committee member Brenda Leonard said the celebration named Matariki o Te Tau will be the marae’s first public observation of Matariki.

“We are holding our celebration on Saturday June 18, from 3pm to 7pm, there will be entertainment, a night market and kai stalls honouring everything Matariki is about.”

The event is free to attend and the entire community is welcome.

Finding something to eat on the night won’t be a problem as the marae has been inundated with people interested in having a stall at the event but more volunteers to help out would be appreciated.

There will be a variety of live entertainment led by local band Pacific Tribal.

Committee member Liz Carrick said students from schools will be giving away seeds, “that is one of the elements of Matariki, which is about the planting and regrowth for next year.”

The astronomy club will also be there with their telescopes so people can view the stars.

Committee member Ellie Smith said Matariki is about “acknowledging the past, celebrating the present and planing for the future.”

When the Matariki public holiday was announced last year the committee decided to organise the event.

“Last year we knew that Matariki was becoming a public holiday so it was important for us to kick off something so people were educated and knew what Matariki actually is,” Ellie said.

“So when we go into the public holiday this year people are taking the time to celebrate and come together with families and enjoy the time and start planning their goals and aspirations together as a whanau.”

The event will be held on the weekend before the official Matariki public holiday.

“We are doing it on the 18th rather than the weekend the nation is celebrating it, so we get as many people as possible. A lot of people may use the three day weekend to go and visit whanau in different parts of New Zealand. This gives us the opportunity to celebrate it here as a small community,” Liz said.

“This is also an opportunity for people to visit our marae who haven’t been here before, it’s an opening up of our house for everybody to be apart of, because it is everyone’s as a community marae.”

-By Daniel Tobin