Matariki: We are the stars of Aotearoa's future

Aotearoa New Zealand is celebrating the first-ever indigenous public holiday in the world.

To mark the occasion, some have decided to celebrate by embracing their whānau, attending Matariki initiatives like Umu Kohukohu Whetū and Ngā Whetū o Matariki at the Stardome Observatory.

For prominent Māori broadcaster Oriini Kaipara, she says it is about time Matariki is a public holiday.

"Māori deserve to come together and celebrate a time specifically for them." She says although this is the first time we get to celebrate Matariki as a public holiday,

she hopes the whole of Aotearoa New Zealand will embrace this celebration, not only for Māori but for the unity of our country.

Reflecting on her past year, Kaipara sums it up in one word: "Pukumahi" which is "busy".

Principal advisor services for Te Rua Mahara o Te Kawanatanga George Haimona, who is of Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāti Whakaue, says Matariki is a time to reset, to plan, to pay homage to those who have passed on and to reflect on the previous year.

Initiatives like Umu Kohukohu Whetū have become an important part for Māori when it comes to Matariki. It is a traditional kaupapa where Māori exercise reciprocity with Atua and stars.

Haimona says it's all about speaking about your own tribal links to your ancestors and finding an understanding of the importance of Matariki for everyone.

"I am a firm believer that what's good for Māori is good for everyone."

Urban planner Britt Davis is celebrating Matariki for the first time this year by learning and understanding the core of what Matariki is.

Davis says research has been an important part of her Matariki journey. Being aware of initiatives has helped her and her partner find a new yet exciting way to celebrate.

"We are excited to go to Ngā Whetū o Matariki at the Stardome Observatory to learn about the stars and the stories that have been passed down from generations."

She says since Māori are indigenous to Aotearoa New Zealand, it's really important to acknowledge and celebrate that.

"Let's move forward into the future of our country by celebrating the Māori New Year."

Mānawatia a Matariki!

Matariki: We are the stars of Aotearoa's future