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Thanksgiving Festival Growing in Hawke’s Bay

Media Release – 13 June 2014

Thanksgiving Festival Growing in Hawke’s Bay

It’s that time of the year when winter brings a twinkle in the eastern skies to herald the arrival of Matariki (the Pleiades star cluster). Hundreds of people across the region will be attending functions that revives the tradition of giving thanks for the harvest – and celebrating and preparing for the new year planting season. Traditional Māori foods will be shared, stories told, new knowledge learnt, creativity admired and songs enjoyed.

Matariki isn’t new but over the last decade and a half celebrating Matariki in Hawke’s Bay has shone with a glow that is not dimming.

Each year a growing number of groups are mounting their own events from storytelling in day care centres and kohanga reo, to tree planting in schools and community feasts in churches and marae.

“We live in a great place and this is our very own new year,” said Ngahiwi Tomoana, Chairman of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi. “Matariki is a celebration for all New Zealanders to enjoy. It’s a time for fun, feasting and festivity”

Twin city celebrations will light up the skies starting in Hastings on Friday 20th June in Flaxmere Park with singers, dancers, multicultural groups, food stalls and fireworks. The free event starts at 5pm.

Napier hosts a major celebration the following night at the soundshell on Marine Parade with a lantern maze, sky lanterns, entertainment, food, free kiddies rides and a fireworks display. Napier’s free activities run 3pm to 6.30pm, Saturday 21st June.

A waka ama contest at Clive will bring together youth teams from Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Taupo. Racing starts at Farndon Park 10am Saturday 21st June.

Hastings Night Market is joining the celebrations with a special Matariki edition onThursday 26th June and Wairoa Matariki kicks off on Friday 27th June at the Wairoa Community Centre.


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