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'Mana-enhancing': Preparing to herald the start of Arrowtown Matariki Lights celebrations this afternoon are some of the 70-strong Arrowtown School Kamuriwai Kapa Haka group. PICTURE: LEIGH JEFFERY

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

Seventy Arrowtown School kapa haka performers are due to take centre stage in the  village this afternoon.

The pupils, all aged between nine and 13, have been rehearsing since the beginning of the year and, for many of them, this afternoon’s performance marks a decade of Matariki performances, having started as preschoolers.

This year they’ll be taking to the Buckingham Green stage, at 3pm, as part of the inaugural Matariki Arrowtown Lights event, which runs till Sunday.

Kapa haka teacher Stacey Anderson says the popularity of kapa haka continues to grow.

‘‘I think it’s a mana-enhancing activity for our kids to stand up and represent themselves, their school, their whanau in a cultural New Zealand way.

‘‘Kapa haka is just one aspect of it, but our kids learn all about tikanga and protocols [too].’’

Anderson’s confident Matariki Arrowtown Lights kapa haka will be a highlight of the long weekend.

Along with new kakahu (uniforms), ‘‘thanks to some amazing parent helpers’’, the kapa haka group’s performing a new waiata for the first time, publicly.

‘‘It’s a celebration of our town, and Matariki and te ao Maori — the Maori world.

‘‘And I’m looking forward to our parents coming together to celebrate their kids.’’

The Arrowtown Primary kapa haka group will perform eight sets today, right after the official opening.

For the full programme of Matariki Arrowtown Lights events, visit bit.ly/3tLBjfE

On yer bike for Matariki

Matariki, here we come: Bikers getting into the spirit for tonight’s ‘Paihikara’ twilight bike ride

By PHILIP CHANDLER

A mystery twilight bike ride’s being held this afternoon around Queenstown’s Frankton to celebrate New Zealand’s first Matariki holiday.

Dubbed ‘Paihikara: Follow the light’, it’s also the first event for a new community project, ‘OneBike’, run by active travel group, The Lightfoot Initiative, and migrant support group, The Kiwi Kit Community Trust.

Lightfoot co-founder Amanda Robinson says OneBike’s aimed at establishing a bike culture in Queenstown, which includes the resort’s multicultural community, and encouraging recreational and commuter riding with the eventual aim of setting up a bike hub.

Tonight’s event starts 5pm at Remarkables Park’s new Te Atamira arts and cultural hub, and also finishes there.

It’s preceded by free bike checks and basic repairs from 3pm.

Robinson’s keen to see as many different types of bikes as possible, lit up and decorated, ‘‘so we can all follow light together into the second half of the year’’.

The council’s also donating seven bike lights, while nominations will be called for someone deserving of a free bike and accessories.

The event’s partially funded by Queenstown’s Te Hau Toka Southern Wellbeing.

Other Matariki events

●   Matariki with Mana Tahuna — music, kai ,performances, guest speaker: Lake Hayes
Pavilion, tonight, 5.30-10pm
●  Annual Midwinter Dinner celebrating Matariki — Celestial bodies theme: Glenorchy Hall, tomorrow, 7pm
●  Matariki Glow Show — giant puppet show: Queenstown Memorial Centre, Wednesday,
July 6, 10am and 11.30am