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Matariki Festival At Te Papa

31 May 2005

Matariki Festival At Te Papa – Celebrating The Mäori New Year

Te Papa is celebrating Matariki, the Mâori New Year, with a festival of free music performances, discussion, storytelling, and fun, running from Saturday 4 June to Sunday 19 June.

Towards the end of May or early June each year, the star cluster Matariki - or Pleiades - appears in our dawn skies. The Mâori New Year begins with the first new moon after the first appearance of Matariki, and this year the new moon appears on 7 June. The bright star Puanga - or Rigel - emerges at about the same time, and for some iwi (tribal groups) it is the appearance of Puanga rather than Matariki that has significance and is celebrated.

Te Papa has adopted Matariki as an annual event, and as iwi all around the country mark this period with song, dance, feasting, and ceremony; Te Papa will host an exciting line-up of events and activities.

Our theme for Matariki this year is ‘Growth and Celebration’. Find out about the significance of poi during Matariki celebrations with demonstrations and floortalks on The Marae; visit the toi iho ™Open Day; join in our lunchtime discussion series; learn about the revival of planting, growing, and harvesting of taewa Mâori (Mâori potato crops); explore the night sky in Te Papa’s mini-planetarium; and enjoy free music and cultural performances by Moana & the Tribe, Whirimako Black, Mere Boynton, Carol Henry, Canti Mâori, Southgate, The Abraham Brothers, and much more!

For Te Papa, Matariki is a time to bring to mind the indigenous calendar of Aotearoa. To celebrate New Zealand’s own new year, Te Papa Press has produced a Matariki calendar that runs from June 2005 until May 2006. The calendar is based on traditional knowledge of the seasonal cycle and looks at its significance to Mäori. Te Papa Icon Catering is also offering a Matariki dinner with three courses of indigenous cuisine, with entertainment featuring the distinctive sound of Maori language singer-songwriter Whirimako Black.

Nau mai, haere mai! Come celebrate the Mäori New Year at Our Place!

For a full events programme visit the Matariki mini-site at


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