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Queen's Birthday Out, Let Matariki In

Media Release Immediate Release 28 May 2009

Queen's Birthday Out, Let Matariki In

"Let's cut out the Queen's Birthday as a public holiday and replace it with Matariki. " said Ngahiwi Tomoana, Chairman of Ngati Kahungunu Iwi.

"I have not come across anyone outside of Government House, who has celebrated the Queen's Birthday at a public function in New Zealand", Ngahiwi commented, on the eve of Queen's Birthday Weekend.

"Last year Bermuda drop kicked the Queen's Birthday off their public holiday list and we should do the same" he said. "Last time I visited England I discovered there is no public holiday in Britain to mark the Queen's Birthday either." Ngahiwi said, "We should, in fact go all the way and make Matariki a public holiday. It would be a great way for us and our children to celebrate a seasonal occurrence that is inclusive of all New Zealanders" Since 2001 Ngati Kahungunu Iwi has wholeheartedly supported Matariki by providing over $150,000 core funding to it's six regions including Wairoa, Napier, Hastings, Central Hawke's Bay, Tararua and Wairarapa. Festivals organised to celebrate Matariki have grown in size. A Hastings event attracted 500 people in 2000. Three years later 15,000 came. The celebration has become the largest winter event in Hawke's Bay attracting support from schools, artists, community groups and councils.

"The first weekend in June is the ideal time to launch our month long Matariki celebrations with a public holiday", said Ngahiwi. "And I believe that future generations of New Zealanders will embrace it with gusto."


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