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Packed schedule as Wellington celebrates Matariki

NEWS RELEASE 29 May 2008

Packed schedule as Wellington celebrates Matariki

Wellington is set to celebrate Matariki (Mâori New Year) in style with a jam-packed festival of events.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast says Matariki is a fantastic way for all Wellingtonians to join together in celebrating Mâori culture in the city.

“In recent years Wellington has seen a tremendous upsurge of interest in Matariki. Matariki is a time when we can all join together to remember the past and to celebrate the future. I hope many Wellingtonians will take part in the celebrations and maybe learn something new about Mâori culture.”

The Mâori New Year starts with the first sighting of the first new moon after the appearance of the Matariki star cluster, which this year occurs on 5 June. Traditionally, Matariki marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the planting season. These days Matariki means celebrating the unique place we live in and giving respect to the land we live on.

This year’s festival kicks off on Saturday 7 June with a marathon waka ama (outriggers) race at Frank Kitts Park lagoon. The race takes place from 815am to 3.30pm and entry is free.

Te Papa will be celebrating Matariki with a fun-filled programme from 7-29 June. Families are welcome to bring their children along to visit the mini-planetarium Star Lab to learn about locating different constellations, and about the significance of Matariki. Sessions take place every weekend from 7-29 June.

On 11 June Te Papa will be the venue for Mo Tatou – the Ngâi Tahu Whânui exhibition tour. On 12 June Te Papa hosts a discussion on contemporary Mâori art, featuring Mâori artists, curators and writers, while on 14 June you can see who will create the most innovative hângi in the day-long Hângi Cuisine Cook-Off. 15 June is a day for youth with hip-hop, cultural groups and music celebrating Pacific cultures – the fun takes place from 11am-4pm. The programme wraps up on Friday 27 June with the Matariki Gala Dinner – tickets available from Te Papa.

Other events at Te Papa include Te huka a tai Whânau on 8 June – a family fun day featuring storytelling, face painting, waita and poi workshops.

The New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts will be hosting ‘bloodlines’, an exhibition of contemporary Mâori art, from 12-29 June. Entry is free and selected works will be for sale. Meanwhile, at the Museum of Wellington City and Sea from 13-15 June, you can learn about traditional Mâori navigation techniques from master navigator Tipene Reade. The talk will be followed by a performance from musician Ben Parsons and entry is free.

From 17-19 June Te Whanganui-a-Tara Mâori Teachers Association will be hosting more than 50 schools from all around New Zealand for Kapa Haka Kura Tuarua-â-Motu ’08. Over 1500 secondary school students will show off their talents in poi, haka, song, and dance at the TSB Bank Arena.

The celebrations conclude with a special event entitled ‘Matariki Futures’ at Crossways Community Centre in Mount Victoria from 4pm on Sunday 29 June. Invited speakers will give presentations on different aspects of the meaning of Matariki. There will be a shared meal, and entry is free.

ENDS

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