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Matariki Shines for New Zealand Tourism

26th June 2006


Media Release
for Immediate Release


Matariki Shines for New Zealand Tourism


Tourism New Zealand is using the upcoming Matariki celebrations as a way of promoting New Zealand as a visitor destination. Te Papa in Wellington will be the setting for a unique event showcasing Matariki to visiting international media, which will reach well over 10 million people in some of New Zealand’s key tourism markets.

Tourism New Zealand, as part of its International Media Programme, has arranged for some of the biggest names in Japanese, Taiwanese, Australian and German media to attend the pre dawn ceremony on June 27th.

“Interest in Matariki is increasing, and we hope the media coverage it will receive in some of our key markets will inspire potential visitors to plan their trip to New Zealand” says George Hickton, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism New Zealand. “Maori culture and events are big drawcards for New Zealand, with 65% of visitors saying they were extremely satisfied with these activities whilst in New Zealand”.

When a new moon is sighted after Matariki, a small cluster of stars also known as Pleiades, is seen on the North East horizon, it heralds the start of the Maori new year.

The Matariki dawn ceremony and breakfast at Te Papa is a unique acknowledgement and celebration of this important event in Maori life, and two Australian dailies, a Taiwanese travel show, Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper and Japan’s largest selling daily are in New Zealand to cover the event.

The ceremony, on Rongomaraeroa Marae, is a special occasion and is not part of Te Papa’s public Matariki events programme.

At dawn, a pütatara (shell trumpet), will sound the karanga (traditional call of welcome), initiating the karakia (prayer) whaikörero (speech), and waiata (song). After the event, journalists will also be given an hour long tour of Te Papa, designed particularly for international visitors with an interest in Maori culture.

International media representatives will also visit other Wellington attractions whilst in New Zealand, including Carter Observatory where they will learn about the Matariki star cluster. They will also visit Kapiti Island and several of Wellington’s galleries and cafes on their Tourism New Zealand sponsored tour, to gather further story ideas.

ENDS

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