By LUCY WORMALD
Matariki celebrations began over the weekend in Glenorchy with a day of learning matauranga Maori (Maori knowledge) and te reo Maori.
Run by local community group Nga Mana Hou, the session introduced people to Matariki and Puaka stories, as well as basic te reo through korero, waiata and pepeha.
Nga Mana Hou member Cory Ratahi (Ngati Porou, Ngati Awa) says the group’s always excited at opportunities to deliver Maori kaupapa in the region.
Running a 10-week cycle of te reo classes in Glenorchy last year, Ratahi was planning to return to the township to run further begin ner classes but Matariki’s ratification as a public holiday presented an opportunity to share tikanga, matauranga, as well as language.
‘‘We turned it into a Matariki event, we’ll have a talk about what Matariki is, and its importance to Maori, and answer all those questions.’’
He says this year’s acknowledgement of Matariki has piqued peoples’ interest in Maori world view.
‘‘Rather than just doing a beginner te reo Maori class, I really wanted to take the opportunity to put Matariki in the forefront of people’s thoughts.’’
Fearing the significance of the Maori New Year may be forgot ten in the shadow of a day off
work, Ratahi says it’s important to remember the purpose of, and knowledge surrounding, Matariki.
‘‘I didn’t want Matariki to become like a Boxing Day where no one actually knows what Boxing Day is or what it means.
‘‘Being our first crack at a public holiday, I really want to push the message to the whole
community of what Matariki is, so that we can have the conversation about why we are having this public holiday.’’
The event will become an annual fixture to help ‘‘keep momentum up’’ and allow as many people as possible to engage with te ao Maori.
‘‘I encourage anyone to come along and learn — part of what we do at Nga Mana Hou is offer a safe space to learn anything Maori,’’ Ratahi says.
Meantime, on Friday Coronet Peak’s hosting a weather-dependent Matariki star viewing at the top of the Greengates chair, on Broughs Lane, from 6.15am, with local kaumatua Darren Rewi and astrophysicist Professor Brian Boyle, chair of the Winterstellar Charitable Trust.
Participants need to be able to ski down in the dawn timeframe with torches or headlamps.