February 09, 2024
Echoes of Matariki in Chinese New Year
Chinese around Aotearoa will tomorrow kick off a month of celebrations to welcome in the Year of the Dragon – and many Māori-Chinese will take the opportunity to connect with the Chinese side of their whānau.
Monica Thompson-Mercury from Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairoa says a trip taking her mother and uncle back to their parents’ village in southern China in 2012 actually opened their eyes to their own taha Māori
She says there are many family, cultural and philosophical things in common between Māori and Chinese, including a strong sense of wairiatanga, tpunatanga, whānau and a way of marking the new year that has parallels with Matariki.
If we think about Matariki it’s whanaungatanga, honour our tipuna, celebrate now and plan for the future. The Chinese new year, also known as the spring festival, is out with the old and bad, in with the new and glad,” Ms Thompson-Mercury says.
Being Māori and Chinese allowed here whānau to cross many boundaries – her mother Sue Wong is the only Chinese roopū raupo for the hāhi Rātana and her sister Veronica is the first Māori chief advisor for the Asia New Zealand Foundation.