Mānawatia a Matariki!

Published on 13 July 2023

Matariki 2023

This morning, pre-dawn, the community of Waitaki had a unique opportunity to celebrate the special and uniquely Aotearoa time of Matariki.  At the Lookout Point on Mākotukutuku - Cape Wanbrow, Justin Tipa (Kāi Tahu) led proceedings with ceremonial karakia honouring each of the stars in the Matariki cluster.

Mayor Gary Kircher welcomed everyone and spoke of looking forward to increased knowledge within the community about the meaning of Matariki.  Despite cloud cover obscuring a decent view of the cluster, local astronomer Damien McNamara (Kāi Tahu), delivered interesting kōrero on iwi traditions around Matariki and Puaka signifying the Māori new year.  Although Matariki was unable to be seen at that time, people learnt how they could find it by using pointers in the early morning sky or with assistance from a nifty app called 'Google Sky Map '.

The occasion was peppered with the singing of waiata, led by the Waitaki District Libraries team who ran drop-in sessions for people to practice in the lead-up to the event. Hot soup and buns were served from a food caravan and Waitaki Boys High School performed a Matariki haka that pierced the darkness and concluded the ceremonies.

The dawn event capped off two weeks of family friendly Matariki activities which included ‘sold-out’ sessions in Tūhura Otago Museum’s mobile Starlab planetarium at the Ōamaru Opera House.