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Matariki 2018

25 June 2018

In the Māori language, Matariki means the “eyes of god” or “little eyes”.

For centuries Māori have held festivals to celebrate Matariki and the importance of Matariki has been captured in proverbs and in songs.

Traditionally, Matariki was a time to celebrate the harvest and to remember those who had died in the last year. Matariki is a time for singing, dancing, feasting and storytelling.

Matariki celebrations were popular before the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, and they continued into the 1900s. Gradually they dwindled, but at the turn of this century they were revived, and today thousands of people around New Zealand celebrate the “Māori New Year”.  It is marked with fireworks, tree plantings, arts and crafts, carving and weaving, singing and dancing, and Kai: the Māori word for food.

Mr Mike Burrell, New Zealand’s High Commissioner to South Africa is making the celebration of Matariki in South Africa an annual event.

Explaining that Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades, High Commissioner Burrell said that New Zealand, Aotearoa, is a bicultural and increasingly multi-cultural country, built upon a partnership between the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Māori, and the other peoples who came after.  Today many New Zealanders celebrate this diversity in a range of ways including Waitangi Day, and, increasingly, Matariki.    

"Given that we are living in the Rainbow Nation, a country where people celebrate diversity, we thought it appropriate to share with you New Zealand’s own celebration of tradition, culture, and diversity," said High Commissioner Burrell.

Bringing this celebration of Māori tanga to life was New Zealand’s most popular and well-known cultural ambassadors, Ngāti Rānana. The group wowed guests with their performances of traditional waiata and haka.

The staff of the High Commission of New Zealand joining in the performance



October/November 2019











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