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Matariki extravaganza set to ignite

Matariki extravaganza set to ignite

Auckland's Manukau Event's Centre will be the stage of a major Matariki, Aotearoa Pacific New Year celebration on Saturday 24 June, 2006.

Festivities will begin with a traditional planting and fire ceremony to honour Maori, Pacific and European influences in the identity of Aotearoa.

The planting and fire ceremonies will be held in front of Pou Kapua situated outside the events centre. The pou is a 20 metre-high carved totem pole that took over five years to complete. Event organisers Tania Wolfgramm and Wikuki Kingi of Pou Kapua Creations, and the creators of the pou itself, intend for this inaugural event to become an ongoing celebration.

"The pou provides an anchor for Matariki celebrations now and in the future. We look forward to ensuring this event becomes regarded as 'the' Matariki event to be involved in. The lineup of performers are renowned Maori and Pacific artists Whirimako Black, Ruia Aperahama and Ardijah."

Key sponsors of the event include Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori (the Maori Language Commission) and Te Puni Kokiri. The event will be bilingual and will be broadcast by Maori Television with coverage of the opening ceremony from 6.30pm-7.30pm, then live coverage of entertainment and the announcement of Te Whetu o Te Tau, the award for the Maori language advocate of the year, from 8pm-9pm.

"Matariki is the indigenous New Year and contributes to our nationhood and identity. It is an opportunity for Maori to highlight their success and heritage particularly in relation to Maori language and knowledge," says Minister of Maori Affairs Hon Parekura Horomia.

Maori Language Commission Chief Executive Haami Piripi says it's the first time the Commission has supported a significant event outside of Wellington, "We are actively reaching out to Maori language speakers in Auckland, New Zealand's internationally competitive city."

"We will also announce the recipient of the Te Whetu o Te Tau for 2006. This award is to recognise and acknowledge and outstanding individual Maori language advocate for the year," says Haami.

Maori Television's Chief Executive, Jim Mather, is pleased that Maori Television is able to broadcast the event. "By broadcasting this event our viewers will also be able to gain an insight into and be part of the experience of Matariki.

ENDS

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