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Reflect, learn, share and celebrate Puanga in Stratford

Stratford residents and visitors to the district are invited to come together for a community celebration for Puanga – The Māori New Year.

From 22 to 29 June 2019, people can get involved with free activities in the Stratford district to reflect, learn, share and celebrate Puanga.

Community Services Director Kate Whareaitu said, “Puanga is a time to reflect on the year that’s been and look to the future.”

“We’re encouraging community members to visit our Puanga rakau (tree) in Prospero Place throughout the week and participate in a reflections and aspirations activity.”

The activity invites people to write down any burdens they have, or the names of loved ones who have passed in the last year on purple paper provided. These will be burned at the closing event, a Puanga Market Day on Saturday 29 June, to signal a celebration of moving forward.

People can also write down their aspirations and goals on orange paper provided for te tau hou – the new year. These get placed on the rakau throughout the week, and will be collected on 29 June and then burned at Stratford district’s Puanga celebration in 2020.

“This is the first time we’ve done something with the community for Puanga,” said Ms Whareaitu. “It’s really exciting and we want to continue it for years to come. I hope the community get involved, share their own stories of Puanga or learn something new.”

Other events acknowledging the celebration include a special Puanga Tot-Time at Stratford Library on Wednesday 26 June, and Puanga Market Day in collaboration with the Prospero Place Farmers Market on Saturday 29 June.

“Visitors to the Puanga Market Day can enjoy an abundance of stalls, wānanga, storytelling and entertainment to close the week long Puanga celebration,” said Ms Whareaitu.

A full timetable of activities for this day will be posted on the Council’s Facebook page prior to the event, and at www.stratford.govt.nz.

“We’ve also had some awesome young people show us what Puanga means to them through a flag design competition, and you can see the four winning flags flying proudly down Broadway between the roundabouts,” said Ms Whareaitu.

Stratford District Council thanks Whaakahurangi Marae, TSB Community Trust and the Māori Womens Welfare League for their support with this community celebration.

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