Celebrate Matariki this June as it heralds in the Aotearoa New Year

Tuesday, 16 June 2015 by Mark Sandiford

Auckland is seemingly the epicentre in New Zealand for festivals - from film festivals to comedy and now the Matariki festival 2015. Move-over Chinese New Year, Matariki is here to celebrate Aoteroa's very own New Year in June and the festival will bring with it around 100 events taking place in multiple locations and communities across Auckland.

_maori _auckland _matariki

June the 20th, the point at which the Pleiades star cluster (Matariki) rises above the Auckland sky. This will herald Te Tau Hou (Māori New Year) and with it the regions biggest celebration of indigenous Maori culture with events, celebrations and activities from kapa haka, kite flying, film, food and much more.

Matariki Festival 2015 is a month of celebration and includes fun, entertainment, culture and activities including live music, film, theatre, art exhibits, food demonstrations, star gazing, kapa haka and a modern take on the old Maori tradition of kite flying.

What is Matariki

_matariki

The rising of the star constellation Pleiades also known as Matariki is an important time in the Maori calendar - it heralds in the Maori New Year and is a time to connect and give thanks, in most instances to the elements that sustain us - the land, sea and sky.

Popular before the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, Matariki celebrations were ongoing in the 1900s before gradually diminishing with the last traditional festivals recorded in the 1940s.

More recently Matariki celebrations have well and truly been revived with festivals and celebrations spanning many areas of the country, with Auckland's Matariki festival dedicating a full month to celebrating, exploring and discovering more about Matariki and Maori culture in general.

Matariki - world famous

Matariki is the Maori name for the Pleiades, a star cluster in the constellation Taurus and is internationally recognised as it can be viewed from anywhere in the world and acts as a key navigation beacon for ocean voyagers as well as an important signal for seasonal change the world over.

 _stonehenge _matariki

The recognition this cluster holds spans the globe and is also incorporated into everyday (driving) life. In Greece several major temples face straight towards Matariki as does Stonehenge in England. In Japan the Subaru brand is the Matariki stars.

Star gazing - how to find Matariki

Keep an eye out from early to mid June and onwards. Matariki rises on the northeast horizon, a little to the west (left) of where the sun rises.  The best time to spot Matariki in Auckland is about one hour before dawn, from about 6.30am. Binoculars will help first-time spotters.

How to enjoy Matariki - the Festival

On the 20th June the Matariki Festival will begin with a dawn karakia and conclude with Manu Aute Kite Day. This variety proves that during the 30 days of celebrations that there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

_kite _flying _matariki

To get your cultural fill this winter why not enjoy some of what the Matariki festival has to offer and if you are from out of Auckland, fear not the Kiwi International Hotel has a range of accommodation options to suit you. Whether travelling on your own, as a couple or a large family the Kiwi International Hotel has a budget conscious option that puts you in the heart of Auckland city with easy commuter access to all parts of the city.

Simply arrive, explore and enjoy.

 
 

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