Matariki, Māori New Year in Te Ao Māori

3 minutes read
Posted 25 June, 2024
Matariki in Arrowtown Ka Muriwai Photo credit Still Vision Photography 2 1

Matariki in Arrowtown Kā-Muriwai. Photo: Still Vision Photography

The reappearance of the Matariki stars in night sky brings the past year to a close as the new year begins in the maramataka – the Māori lunar calendar. On Friday, the annual Matariki Arrowtown Kā-Muriwai event will take place, but this year will have a slightly different focus and be double the size.

The event will extend from Buckingham Green to Library Green with entertainment installations for all ages, tasty kai, and two stages for entertainment. The Atheneaum Hall, Lakes District Museum and Arrowtown Library will also be open and filled with local artists, exhibitions, and specialists. Ann Wyatt is the project manager for the event and says that she and the team spent a lot of time looking at feedback from last year’s event, making some changes.

“Last year was incredibly popular with over 7,000 visitors coming to our town,” Wyatt says. “My role has been to look at the feedback and assess what we would like to tweak and change to be able to create more a community-focused event, looking at Matariki and a bit more of the learning around that, and some hands-on experiences for visitors coming into Arrowtown.”

Matariki is a time for remembering and honouring those who we have lost since the last rising, being thankful for what we have, celebrating the present, and looking forward to a promise of a new year. Historically, the stars were also tied to planting, harvesting and hunting – if they appeared brightly, it signified an abundant season ahead.

Some of the educational touchpoints this year include Marshall Park, where Te Reo Māori speakers will be to help guide guests through pronunciation of words relating to Matariki and their meanings – the trees will have these key words hanging in them, too. There’s activities for the kids at Ray White’s showroom, cultural performances at Buckingham Green and Arrowtown Museum will show a short film on the whenua of the area.

“We have six weavers, who are going to be doing some weaving demonstrations on harakeke and we’ve got astrologers who are going to be outside the museum and talking to the Matariki star clusters from an astronomy point of view, and inside, there’s a beautiful exhibition. There’s also the trio of trees down in library green where you can leave your wishes and your memories with your family, and have those moments.”

The event is once again free, something Wyatt says is really important to the organisers. They want this to be as educational and accessible as possible – it’s an event by the community for the community. They are asking for a gold coin donation this year, for those who are able, to ensure the event can continue next year and for many to come.

“We’d love everybody to be able to come and enjoy the event – we’ve got SILO, who are coming to do these amazing light installations. Come and see all the lights, come and have a cultural experience,” Wyatt wraps up.

Matariki Arrowtown Kā-Muriwai will happen this Friday, 28 June, from 3.30-8.30pm – a wee reminder to bring a gold coin if possible. It will open at Buckingham Green with the sounding of the sounding of the Pūtātara (conch shell), followed by a Karakia, Tuku Mihi and Waiata Tautoko. You can head to arrowtown.com/our-town/events/matariki-arrowtown-ka-muriwai/ for more information and to see the full schedule.

How can you spot the Matariki stars? The constellation is easy to see with the naked eye as it’s very near to earth. Look to the northeast horizon before sunrise and find Tautoru, the three bright stars at the base of The Pot or Orion’s Belt, and look to the left to see the bright orange star known as Taumata-Kuku. Continue looking left and you’ll see a small cluster of stars, this is Matariki.

Matariki Arrowtown Ka Muriwai 2024 Map

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