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Matariki ki Waikato Festival celebrates Maori New Year

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Over the months of June and July, Waikato families can learn about the cultural significance of Matariki by attending one of the many public events celebrating this time of year. Māori New Year celebrations have become increasingly popular with a significant uptake with events happening nationally.

Local Matariki events provide a fun opportunity for interactive exploration with activities ranging from performance nights, kite flying day, Māori art exhibitions, Matariki night market, Matariki menu challenge and much more.

Marleina Ruka, organiser of the Matariki Kite Flying Day at the Hamilton Gardens on 24 June says the family event allows many Hamilton and overseas visitors to engage with kaupapa Māori.

"The whole family maybe having fun flying and weaving kites, but they are also gaining a better understanding of Matariki and what that means."

With a variety of free activities on offer at venues such as the Hamilton City Library, The Waikato Museum, Creative Waikato and Tai Wananga Ruakura there is plenty for the community to get amongst.

Whiti is an open mic night that celebrates regional performance talent and has previously featured local singer songwriters, dancers and spoken word poets.

Era Peihopa from Creative Waikato says, "In te reo, Whiti means to shine. So this event is a platform celebrating the ‘shining stars’ that perform on the night. Each year the standard of talent in our own backyard blows the audience away".

The Matariki festival opening event is organised by Friends of the Hamilton Gardens and is called Karanga o te Tau Hou. This event is celebrated on the nearest Friday to honour King Koroki’s birthday.

This year the very special dawn ceremony will be held on 15 June in Te Parapara Gardens at 6am.

For more events see the Matariki ki Waikato Festival website -

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