One of the most significant celebrations in the Māori calendar will begin with a dawn karakia at the Tāwharanui Regional Park on Saturday June 10 at 6.30am as Auckland Council, in partnership with Ngāti Manuhiri, host festivities to welcome in Matariki, the indigenous new year.
Following the dawn karakia, the public is invited to join local iwi as they begin the season’s celebration of a new harvest and renewal including tree planting by VIP guests and kids, kapa haka performances, kite making, sculpture, and the chance to get face to face with live tuatara from Auckland Zoo.
The day also includes the special opportunity to watch rare giant kōkopu released as part of an Auckland Council Parks project that will see the largest reintroduction of whitebait to date in New Zealand into the wild at Tāwharanui Regional Park after a 30 years hiatus.
Free transport to and from Auckland City to the venue can be pre-booked and for others who can travel independently, they’re encouraged to make a weekend of it, to stay over and experience the sights and tastes of the Rodney region.
Matariki is the opportunity for host iwi, Ngāti Manuhiri, to share their stories and culture with the wider community.
“It’s a celebration of our spirituality and the history of our people”, says Mook Hohneck.
“Matariki is the star that signifies reflection, hope, our connection to the environment and the gathering of people. It’s a good time to reflect on our place in the world, to reawaken old skills, try out new ones and set new goals”.
Matariki is an increasingly important part of the New Zealand calendar providing us all with the opportunity to learn and explore our history.
Mayor Phil Goff says, “Matariki is rich in tradition, it marks the passage of time. It’s still a time to listen, to learn, to share, to foster unity and recognise the importance of family, the unique place in which we live and it’s time to give respect to the land we live on”.
Info: matarikifestival.org.nz or phone 09 301 0101 for the schedule of activities for the day.