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Time to dump Guy Fawkes and celebrate Matariki

19 October 2006

Time to dump Guy Fawkes and celebrate Matariki

Many of the fire risk concerns about Guy Fawkes Day could be averted if the celebration was shifted back further towards winter and used instead to commemorate Matariki, the Maori New Year, Green Party Maori Affairs Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

"It seems incredibly strange and meaningless to be celebrating here in New Zealand the actions in Britain of a religious zealot and terrorist that happened 400 years ago.

"It is also makes no sense at all to carry out these odd rituals in the middle of spring, just when the equinoxial gales are at their peak.

"The debate about fireworks and their safety risks gives us a golden chance to rethink the whole purpose of the celebration. We should make it into a seasonal celebration that is truly bi-cultural in nature.

"Scrapping Guy Fawkes and celebrating the Maori New Year instead would also be consistent with the way that the Chinese - for some of the same reasons - celebrate their New Year.

'We should, in fact, go all the way and make Matariki a public holiday. After all the squabbles and divisiveness that has marked the recent debate on race relations, a Matariki holiday and public fireworks display could be a great way for all of us and our children to celebrate the renewal of our commitment to our homeland, Aotearoa."

ENDS

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