Matariki

By | Category: Travel destinations

It is only a few days until New Zealand celebrates Matariki – the Maori new year. The name comes from a star group called Matariki which we might know better as the Pleiades or the seven sisters.
Unlike our celebration which last for one evening and one day to recover, Matariki can last a lot longer and has more significance than we place on it. There is no more important day in the Maori calendar. Each year celebrations become more widespread as families and local communities pay greater attention to the traditional significance of the festival. The festival in Auckland, for example, will last for a month. For Maoris, it is a time to farewell the past year and welcome new life and new beginnings with festivities, food sharing, hospitality, art and crafts, cultural workshops, traditional Māori games, concerts and performances. It is also a time when Maoris and New Zealanders honour their indigenous culture, language, spirit and people whilst reviewing the past and prepare for the future.
It also means this is a great time to visit New Zealand because visitors have the opportunity of seeing a lot about Maori culture in one encapsulated period. In Taupo, it began as early as the 25th May, in most other places it begins in the next few days. In Rotorua the festivities last until 6th July; in Whanganui, the new year is celebrated slightly differently. It is to Puanga, another star, that this part of New Zealand looks to herald in the new year. So the visitor will see have a different experience from those awaiting Matariki.
Celebrations will occur in all the big cities and at least another sixteen besides so wherever you are holidaying in the country you should have the opportunity of joining in the festivities.

For an overall check of what is happening where, click here.

For more about New Zealand, click here

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