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Parihaka to celebrate Māori New Year

The Parihaka Puanga Kai Rau Festival will take place at Taranaki's iconic home of peace this weekend to celebrate the Māori New Year.

“We do things different in Parihaka: we clear the past, we acknowledge the present, we plant the seeds of the New Year and then we celebrate Puanga, the Māori New Year” says Parihaka Puanga Kai Rau Festival committee member Maia Hoengārangi Bailey.

“We celebrate Puanga through a spiritual lens, where we connect our wairua, our tinana, our ngākau, our mamae to Papatūānuku under the korowai of Mounga Taranaki, within the embrace of Parihaka Papakāinga, a thriving community in coastal Taranaki, home of Te Whiti and Tohu.”

Every year the papakāinga opens its doors to welcome visitors from far and wide to taste, feel, experience and breath in the pulse of Puanga (the star Rigel) as it rises on the eastern horizon, just above the mountain. While other iwi tend to celebrate Mataraiki (the Pleiades), Taranaki tribes have always seen Puanga as the star to mark the new year.

The festival kicks off with a pōwhiri at 5pm at Te Niho o Te Atiawa on the 7th June, followed by talks, kai and karakia. The next day, everyone is up early to welcome in Puanga.

“Saturday is packed with activities for the young, young at heart, and those that want to just sit and watch, or participate. In the morning, we all head to the community garden for a working bee. We harvest the last crops and prepare the beds for spring.”

“Our kaumātua have activities this year including designing skits, props and waiata to perform in between the music sets for the Saturday night concert. Our workshops this year promise to be educational, informative and interactive. We have a very special presentation on Kui Whero Bailey.”

“After the Saturday night music sessions, we will have the fire going at the māra for the post session jams, set next to the open fires and night skies. This is a festival for the whole whānau. We are alcohol, drug and smoke free event where nothing is left behind except a light footprint on Papatūānuku, following the principles of Para Kore (Zero Waste).”

“And last but not least – this is a free festival. Nau mai haere mai!” concludes Maia Hoengārangi Bailey.

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