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Last modified: 09 Jun 2022 12:41pm

young girl in denim jacket looks up at giant art work of the night sky

Ko Matariki kei runga, ko te tohu tānā o te tau! Matariki is coming and during June and July we’re once again celebrating across Waikirikiri/Selwyn.

Matariki signals the Māori New Year and is considered a time of celebration and renewal. It begins with the rising of the Matariki star cluster – known to Europeans as the Pleiades – which appears in the skies over Aotearoa in mid-winter.

Customarily, Matariki was celebrated by the lighting of ceremonial fires, gifts and offerings, and celebrations to farewell the dead, honour ancestors, and to welcome the coming year.

In Waikirikiri/Selwyn, the Council is hosting a wide range of community events from 18 June, and inviting the community to join in with the celebrations. Stargazing, a story time under the stars, art and sculpture workshops, food, exploring our beautiful
backyard and flying kites are all part of the fun.

A celebration and creation of art will kick off the fortnight of events with three art activities touring a range of Selwyn libraries and community centres exploring the works of renowned Ngāi Tahu artist and weaver, Cath Brown. People will also have the chance to get crafty making their own taniwha or learn from artist Piri Cowie (Ngāi Tahu, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Kahu) about the cultural significance of tuna (eels) and create and display paper cut out sculpture on this theme.

Other events will include a chance to enjoy mahinga kai with Manu from Suburban Eatery, a Family Kite Day, a special screening of the Whakaora Te Ahuriri documentary on the creation of Whakaora Te Ahuriri wetland near Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) with a Q&A with documentary members, and a guided tour of the lagoon.

The Council is also encouraging people to join in and mark the occasion with their community, with the support of the Council’s Meet your Street fund supporting local gatherings. Matariki is the perfect time to bring your neighbours together. Gather to kōrero, share kai and get to know your neighbours.

Council Group Manager Community Services and Facilities Denise Kidd says Matariki is a great time to enjoy what brings us together here in Aotearoa. “Matariki offers us as a community a chance to recognise the Māori new year with celebrations, fun and opportunities to grow our understanding of what this special occasion is really about."