Thursday, April 25, 2024

Waipā flying flags for Matariki

Waipā District Council is commemorating Matariki with a new set of themed street flags displayed throughout Te Awamutu and Cambridge.

The flag, designed by Te Awamutu Museum exhibitions coordinator, Henriata Nicholas, features the star cluster with a tāniko overlay and the text ‘Matariki’.

“The Museum began highlighting calendar dates on our public programme schedule in 2016 that were significant to Māori and Matariki was one of those special dates we wanted to commemorate. It was through the marketing of the museum programmes that I came up with our Matariki brand. The same graphics were the basis of the Matariki flags,” said Ms Nicholas.

Matariki will be recognised as a national public holiday for the first time on 24 June.

Also known as the Pleiades star cluster, Matariki signals the Māori New Year, a time to come together and celebrate, and remember those who have passed.

To many iwi the Matariki cluster represents the story of a mother, Matariki, and her six daughters, Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Waipuna-ā-rangi, Waitī, Waitā and Ururangi as they help Papatūānuku prepare for the next year.

Iwi relations advisor, Shane Te Ruki said acknowledging and celebrating Matariki is a time for reflecting on the past 12 months and the year ahead. It is a traditional time to pause and observe the stars and solemnly salute those whom we have lost in the past year, he said.

“It is also a time for sharing a meal with family and friends to celebrate the promise of warmer times to come. As Matariki heralds a new year it signals a time to make preparations, plans and to reset our priorities and plans for the year. Mānawa mai te putanga o te ariki, Matariki, te tohu o te tau – Welcome the arrival of the supreme, Matariki, herald of the new year.”

Staff shortages and funding restraints mean Council won’t be running its own Matariki event this year, but will help promote Matariki via its social media channels.

Te Awamutu Museum will run a month of free, interactive Matariki activities including ‘Add your star to our Matariki Wall’ and ‘Find the Star Trail’.

“Hopefully next year we will get back to supporting artists and will be able to engage with our community through creative projects again for all ages,” Ms Nicholas said.

Waipā District Libraries is working directly with local schools to deliver this year’s Matariki programming with guest speaker, Te Aroha Tauroa.

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