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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:35am

Journeys through the stars and stories will be at the heart of Matariki celebrations in Selwyn.

Matariki is the traditional Māori new year celebration, observed in July, when the constellation of Matariki rises in the dawn sky. It is a time for whānau to come together, to remember those who have passed away in the last year and to celebrate the dawn of a new mahinga kai (food and natural resource) season. With the kūmara recently harvested it was also a time of feasting, celebrating and wānanga (learning).

For Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, the local people of Taumutu, the kūmara harvest is even more significant as Taumutu is the southernmost point where kūmara was grown in Aotearoa New Zealand.

This year Matariki will be marked on 13 July, but celebrations will be held surrounding that date. To mark Matariki in Selwyn there will be a special visit from Manu, a digital guide who will take people on a walk through the maramataka or the Māori lunar calendar.

Using a smartphone app ‘The Journeys of Manu’ will see virtual guide Manu tell the story of the maramataka as people walk along a path with way points in Foster Park and along the Liffey in Lincoln. The Journeys of Manu app can be downloaded from The Journeys of Manu will be available from Monday 6 to Sunday 19 July.

The Council will also provide a star guide, put together by volunteers from the West Melton Observatory, so children and parents can study the night sky and learn about the constellations, planets and moons. This will be available from Council facilities.

Selwyn libraries will hold story times at the libraries from Tuesday 7 to Friday 10 July. There will also be a star hunt quiz with prizes available at each of the Selwyn Libraries and the Council recreation centres, and an online kite-making tutorial.