Happy Matariki 2008

[Updated] An excellent beginner’s guide to finding Matariki from Signposts

Matariki, the Māori New Year, is upon us and, as usual, Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand here in Wellington) has a jam packed 4 weeks of fun and frolicks - not sure if the dude to the right will be there showing off his muscles, but you never know!

My selected highlights ...

A little more information for the uninitiated from MatarkikiFestival.org.nz:
Based on early traditions, Matariki is something special for all New Zealanders to share. It connects us with our unique Maori heritage, nature, creativity and expression. For many Maori, Matariki signals the beginning of a new cycle of life and a time to reflect on the previous year.

Today Matariki means celebrating the unique place in which we live and giving respect to the land we live on.

Kidspot had this in their daily email a few days ago:
Teach your kids about Matariki

If you're not sure what your kids are on about when they come home from school babbling about Matariki, it's time to brush up on the Maori New Year festival.

Here at Kidspot we believe any excuse is a good excuse for a party, especially during these glum winter months. So keep an eye on the north- eastern horizon half an hour before dawn (if you've got pre-schoolers you're sure to be awake anyway) to spot the Matariki stars (that's them in our picture). The next new moon after they appear signals the new year - this year it rises on Thursday 5 June, kicking off a month of celebrations in Auckland and elsewhere.

Matariki is traditionally a time to get together with whanau, reflect on the year that's passed and make plans and wishes for the future, so why not invite friends and family for a feast.

Now get your kids involved with an at-home craft project making a traditional Maori kite (pdf) (if the trad version looks too tricky, Kidspot's easy alternative might be more your style).

A Kidspot tip - Seeing stars

Are your youngsters star struck? If their questions are getting too tricky for you to answer, it's time for a visit to the planetarium. Auckland Observatory is running special Matariki Dawn sessions at 9pm most nights throughout June, plus a Matariki breakfast on Saturday 7 June. For astro information elsewhere in the country try here


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