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The Matariki Ritual

16 June 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Nau mai, haere mai – you are warmly invited to a ritual for the whole whānau to mark the arrival of Matariki, the Māori New Year.

Celebration of people (tangata), of earth, sea and sky (whenua).

A public celebration and ritual of all ages to mark the arrival of Matariki. Join us in lighting a ritual fire.

Please wear a symbol of your heritage, bring your own light (e.g. a torch, no flames), a blanket, and a memento of a loved one you wish to farewell.

We acknowledge the year just passed and offer gratitude and thoughts of renewal on the year to come. We will then share stories, enjoy kai, and rejoice in Matariki Rising together.

During the evening, we:

  • celebrate the people (tangata), and earth, sea, and sky (whenua)
  • mark the beginning of Matariki
  • hear stories of renewal.

The ritual begins with the lighting of a fire. We retell the story of the separation of earth and sky, and the creation of the world according to Māori tradition. The evening continues with the story of

Tāne, who adorned the heavens with the stars, a recitation of the Maramataka (Māori lunar calendar) and the appearance of Matariki. Here, you will be invited to place lights upon the pond as an act to farewell their loved ones and the year just gone.

Finally, the story of Matariki will be recounted culminating in Hiwa-i-te-rangi, the star within Matariki towards which hopes and aspirations for the New Year are directed. You will be invited to write down and express your hopes and dreams, and place them in a community basket.

Please bring small tokens of who you are, of your loved ones who you wish to farewell and your hopes and dreams for the year to come – and a blanket and pillow!

Come celebrate the Aotearoa New Year together!


Te Papa
55 Cable Street, Wellington, New Zealand
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