February 04, 2021
Matariki holiday a time for reflection
A Māori astronomer reckons people will find a wide range of ways to celebrate the new Matariki public holiday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Arden yesterday announced the first Matariki holiday will fall on June 24 next year, and the commemoration would be timed to fall on either a Monday or a Friday.
Rangi Mataamua says it’s more than a holiday, and people will also use the midwinter data as a celebration, a commemoration and a chance to make a statement of national identity.
He says traditionally Matariki was a chance to remember those who have died over the previous year, to spend time feasting and celebrating with family, and planning the new year.
"Matariki is connected to unity, inclusion, environment, so it praises and gives thanks to all the parts of the environment that have sustained us, – freshwater, saltwater, land and air, forests – and it is a time we sit down and celebrate all the people who impact on our lives and make us who we are and that is how I hope people will choose to celebrate Matariki," Dr Mataamua says.
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