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Matariki extravaganza underway at Te Puia | NZMACI

June 20, 2017

Matariki extravaganza underway at Te Puia | NZMACI

Fierce kapa haka competition, live tā moko by some of the best in the art form, and plenty of family friendly activities are all set for the New Zealand Māori Arts and Craft Institute’s upcoming Matariki celebrations.

The two-week long Matariki celebration, which began yesterday, continues NZMACI’s 50 year celebrations, acknowledging the significant anniversary of the legislation which still guides the Institute.

Matariki is the Māori name for the star cluster known as the Pleiades. Traditionally, it appeared just before dawn in late May or early June, signalling the start of the Māori New Year.

NZMACI general manager, Eraia Kiel says the upcoming events make for an exciting couple of weeks at Te Puia | NZMACI, and with Rotorua residents able to visit for free with a whānau card, the celebrations are accessible to everyone.

Mr Kiel says the celebration has three components, Manutukutuku, Matakamokamo and Mata Ora, representing concepts below and above the ground, as well as the celestial environment in the skies above.

Manutukutuku, or Māori kite flying, is one way our Māori people would traditionally communicate spiritually with the heavens, says Mr Kiel.

“Māori kite flying traditions have a highly symbolic connection to Matariki – the two were historically inseparable, as it was our link to the celestial world.”

The Matakamokamo element references to a Te Arawa ancestor particularly known for skills in haka, prompting the development of an exciting Super 9 Kapa Haka competition which will take place over the next two weeks.

Teams of nine performers will battle for nine minutes each at Te Iwa o Matariki Jojo Super 9 Kapa Haka competition, with the finals on Friday June 30. The competition is also in memory of the late Jojo Waaka, a former employee of Te Puia and well-known kapa haka exponent.

“The format combines traditional kapa haka with innovative entertainment. What better way to acknowledge the great star Jojo was.”

Mr Kiel says Mataora represents activity below the ground, incorporating tā moko as part of this. Legend has it that Mataora was responsible for bringing tā moko to the world after he journeyed to Rarohenga (the underworld) to win back the heart of his wife, Niwareka.

Live tā moko will be carried out onsite at Te Whare Tapere during the first week, accompanied by lunchtime lectures on the history and tradition of the artform.

Mr Kiel says the Matariki celebrations are a way of embracing the wider community and acknowledging everyone who has been a part of NZMACI for the past 50 years.

“Come and join with us to celebrate our history and legacy.”

Rotorua residents can join in the festivities for free by signing up for the annual Te Puia whānau card - proof of Rotorua residency is all that is required. New Zealand residents can also receive a preferential rate with proof of New Zealand residency.


Matariki lectures, from Monday June 19 – June 23, 9am, at Te Aronui a Rua.

Tā Moko demonstrations, Monday June 19 – June 25, between 9am and 4pm at Te Whare Tapere. Daily lectures at12.30pm.

Matariki Whaakari, Monday June 19 – June 23, 11am and 1.30pm and Monday 26 – Friday 30 June, 11am only. Play by Ahorangi Next Generation showcasing the nine signs of Matariki.

Manutukutuku (kite making), Monday June 26 to Friday June 30 between 9am and 4pm at Te Whare Tapere.

Te Iwa o Matariki – Te Jojo Super 9 Kapa Haka Competition from Monday June 26 to Friday June 30 between 1.15pm and 3pm at Te Aronui a Rua.

For updated information on these events, go to the NZMACI Facebook page


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