The Government has released the recommended dates for the Matariki public holiday for the next thirty years.
Acting Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Peeni Henare and Workplace Relations and Safety, Michael Wood said the Government was delivering on its pre-election commitment that New Zealand will celebrate Matariki as a public holiday from next year, beginning on 24 June 2022.
They said the calendar date for the Matariki public holiday will shift each year to align with the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar) and will always be on a Friday.
“Matariki will be our first public holiday that recognises Te Ao Māori and will be one that is uniquely New Zealand,” Minister Henare said.
“Mātauranga Māori has been at the heart of decision making on the new public holiday. The Matariki Advisory Group, recognised experts in Te Ao Māori and the mātauranga associated with Matariki and the Maramataka, have led this process, providing advice and engaging with communities across Aotearoa. We are grateful for their guidance, which is helping ensure Te Ao Māori is embedded within the day.
“Matariki is more than just a public holiday. Our celebration of the new public holiday will be informed by key values such as unity, sharing, feasting, coming together, and environmental awareness.”
Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades, and refers to a cluster of stars that rises in mid-winter, marking the start of the Māori New Year. Some iwi name this time of year Puanga, after a bright star that is above and to the right of the Matariki constellation.
“The Matariki public holiday will always fall on a Friday, which will help more Kiwis take mid-winter getaways and support the tourism sector’s economic recovery,” Minister Wood said.
“The Matariki Advisory Group asked that we be guided by the whakataukī ‘Matariki hunga nui’ (Matariki brings us together). This new long weekend will allow people to travel to their hometown or around our regions, and spend time with their whānau.
“The public holiday always falling on a Friday will also mean many of those who miss out on the Mondayisation of holidays will have Matariki to look forward to.”
A stand-alone Bill to formally establish the Matariki public holiday will be introduced to Parliament later this year, and people will have the opportunity to provide their feedback during the select committee process.
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