New Zealand celebrates Matariki, the Maori New Year

New Zealand celebrates Matariki, the Maori New Year

“Since the 1870s, anyone who wants to celebrate Matariki, the Maori New Year, does so on their own time,” Ranji Matamwa, Chair of the Matariki Advisory Committee explains. But on June 24, 2022, Matariki was officially celebrated for the first time in New Zealand, and it became a national holiday, he writes New Zealand website Spinoff. The event made headlines the press, Christchurch Daily newspaper.

New Zealand newspaper The Press, 24 June, Matariki Celebration Day. Journalist reader / journalist

Matariki is the Maori name for a constellation of stars, the Pleiades. In the Maori tradition, the solar elevation of this constellation (the time of year when it rises above the horizon and becomes visible) heralds “New Year’s Promises”, explain Spinoff, Based in Auckland.

The New Zealand Labor Party has promised since 2020 to the Maori community, a Polynesian people indigenous to New Zealand, a bill creating a national holiday marking Matariki was accepted last April.

research work

The recognition of this holiday is due in large part to the work of Ranji Matamwa, researcher and professor of astronomy, says Spinoff. While at university, in the 1990s, interest in Matariki resurfaced. after discovery,hidden in a closet, A 400-page manuscript on the subject, written in 1800 by one of his Maori ancestors, the scholar has spent twenty years investigating and traveling across the country to better understand Maori customs.

In addition to making a strong plea for the adoption of this holiday in the New Zealand calendar, the professor is also very present on social networks, hosting live broadcasts and discussing everything, From Matariki’s History to the Decolonization of Our Representations of Time, In order to promote this festival which is still unknown in the country. “his passion maturanga (Traditional Maori knowledge) His communicativeness, and sense of humor help make this topic accessible and fascinating to the unrecognized many.” New Zealand media writes.

Bringing all New Zealanders together

Matariki’s dates are set over the next thirty years, and Matamwa hopes New Zealanders will be encouraged to do so “Occasion tikanga (Maori customs) and create their own traditions. It is a public holiday for everyone and there are many ways to celebrate it,” Confirms Role.

The stars don’t belong to anyone – no offense to Elon Musk – more than the sky.” greedy jokes and “The meanings of this holiday are not limited to the Maori people. He remembers.

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For the general public in New Zealand, the Matariki Advisory Committee has defined three meanings for the event: Matariki Hunga Nui, Matariki Ahunga Nui and Matariki Manako Nui, meaning respect for the dead, sharing and celebration, and New Year’s wishes and aspirations. In short, Matariki is “A period conducive to transfer, sharing, exchange and decision-making”, writing Spinoff.

this party”It can become a symbol for all of us New Zealanders, and allow us to come together as a nation around this common identity, in this little corner of the Pacific that is ours.” On his part, Ranji Matamwa confirms.

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