Matariki, a great time for giving
Matariki, also known as the Māori New Year, begins 28 June this year. Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars known as the Pleiades, and traditionally it signals the beginning of the Māori New Year, when the cluster of stars appear in the pre-dawn sky looking north-east in late May/early June.
This year’s National Volunteer Week was inspired by the following whakataukī: "Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te tangata," translated by Volunteering New Zealand as "With your contribution and my contribution the people will live."
Vanisa Dhiru, Chief Executive of VNZ says, “It Is important that communities get involved and spend a bit of time incorporating Te Reo Māori into our everyday lives.
Mana Tiaki, a community based whanau group in Tawa, Wellington, provides a support network for local Māori families. The Mana Tiaki whānau consists of families from Tawa, Titahi Bay, Porirua, and the Kapiti Coast whom volunteer their time to the organisation. The parents and extended whānau of these families make up the committees, band of volunteers and fundraisers. They provide tutors to teach kapahaka, raise the profile of Tikanga Māori in schools and by assisting schools with implementation of Māori perspective across the curriculum.
“Aotearoa is made up of countless groups and communities, which come together to form the basis of our nation as a whole – Mana Tiaki is just one of many of these groups. Volunteering in your communities strengthens connections, culture and any celebration – and directly contributes to the positive environment that we want for our communities.”
The idea of volunteering for Māori is based significantly on the concept of whanaungatanga (kinship) and the benefits, both for individuals and the wider community, derived from contributing to the common good. The term “mahi aroha” means work performed out of love, sympathy, or caring through sense of duty. For many Māori, mahi aroha carried out for the benefit of whanau, hapū and iwi is often seen as fulfilling their cultural obligations to the wider collective.
“Matariki is a time to pause for reflection, to learn from the past and to plan for the future – and it is a great time to think about giving back to your whanau, community and nation,” say Vanisa.
Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) is an association of New Zealand organisations that have a commitment to volunteering, such as volunteer centres, national and other organisations. Their mission is to promote, support and advocate for volunteering. www.volunteeringnz.org.nz