Shining their light in the winter sky just before dawn, Matariki (the star cluster also called the Pleiades) signals the Māori New Year as it emerges from earth’s horizon. The appearance brings a time for remembering ancestors and also celebrating new life cycles. Matariki has become an important annual observation all over Aotearoa, with kites, hot-air balloons, fireworks, lectures, and cultural experiences for everyone.
Here at Creative Bay of Plenty, we’ve put together the below opportunities to immerse you in Matariki and support local celebrations around the theme of Ngā kura huna — sharing important treasured knowledge that might otherwise remain hidden. Keep reading for our Creative Bay of Plenty guide – how to look, listen, create, and move – to Matariki in our community…
- Tīmatanga Hou – New Beginning
Local creative practitioner Areena Smith’s exhibition Tīmatanga Hou – New Beginning refers to a shift, or the start of something new. Her idea is reflective of Matariki itself — a time of reflection and the revitalisation of te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori rituals. Parts of Areena’s exhibition were done in collaboration with her two-year-old nephew, representing generations working together to create meaningful connections. Stop by her exhibition at The People’s Gallery in the Historic Village between 6 June and 11 July.
- This is Us – He waka eke noa
Tauranga Sunrise Rotary and The Incubator invite you to attend the launch of This is Us – He waka eke noa and the unveiling of the beautiful waka that guides the project. Join us at 10:30am this Saturday at Forrester’s Hall in the Historic Village to learn more about this project and a new platform to share diverse stories and learn about one another. This is Us – He waka eke noa has been funded in part by the Creative Communities Scheme.
- The Lost Children of Tāne Māhuta
Matakana Island artist Louis Mikaere will open his exhibition at The People’s Gallery on 13 July. The Lost Children of Tāne Māhuta represents a body of work addressing Mother Nature’s response to lockdown — and how she has thrived as a result of reduced pollution and human activity. Meet the artist and learn more about the message behind his latest work – let’s take notice of what the earth has shown us and not return to our usual bad and harmful habits. Join us at The People’s Gallery in the Historic Village and let’s listen to the environment, and the Lost Children of Tāne Māhuta, together.
- E Toru Ngā Mea: Three short films and artist speaker event
Mark your calendar for 21 July and a big screen programme at the Historic Village cinema. The event is an opportunity to see three short films by Mita Tereremoana Tahata, followed by a panel discussion with the film-maker and the Māori/Pacific artists featured in the documentaries. The films address the journey of descendants of the Māori Pacific Island tunnelers in World War I; the work and creative ideas of local artist Kelcy Taratoa; and the Maori/Niuean voice, art, and message of artist Iata Peautolu.
- Nau piki mai, Nau kake mai Tamariki mā
This creative workshops is perfect for children, families, and care-givers! Imagine you’re in a waka atea (a space rocket) and you’re traveling high into the starry night sky among the whetu (stars) of Matariki. As you travel through the bright cluster, what would you see? Bring your tamariki on 3 July to learn more about Matariki and find out through interactive waiata and mahi toi (art activities). Then return to earth and continue our celebrations.
- Hip Hop workshop
Explore the stars and then turn your attention to Hip Hop culture! Jay Tihema, a leading local youth worker and mentor, is offering an engaging workshop on 11 July for young adults (up to 24 years old). Gain cultural knowledge, enhance your creative powers, write rhymes, and develop tour own style. If that sounds like you, get in the groove and register today.
- Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi Podcast
Stories and voices have moved into the digital space! Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Te Rangi Iwi recently launched their own podcast channel, as a new platform to share kōrero tuku iho, historical accounts, and local Māori knowledge. Have a listen and explore cultural identity as told by Ngāi Te Rangi descendants – a perfect way to reiterate the Matariki theme.
- Jewellery Making
Kalena Egan of Putiputi Recycled presents a jewellery-making workshop for children on 28 June. Participants will transform natural materials to create upcycled floral necklaces or bangles (please note that children must be confident using a hot glue gun). Kalena is also holding a floral art workshop on 18 July: create dried flower art using exploration, resourcefulness and creativity.
- Paper Mosaic Mural
Have you ever wanted to combine paper, textures, and patterns into your own mosaic? Michelle Arnold has the workshop for you (and your kids), and it’s coming up at The Artery on 4 July! Her paper mosaic workshop will be a great way to connect with your young ones, find a new creative spark, and build a Matariki creation together.
- Mauao Hikoi
Join a hikoi with celestial navigator Jack Thatcher this week around the base or up to the summit of Mauao. Gain insight about the heavens and join other earthly navigators for early morning kōrero and the sharing of knowledge around Matariki.
- Tākaro Kēmu
Māori kēmu (games) are a witty, challenging, fun way to bring the whānau together. Join tutor Teiaro Taikato’s Tākaro Kēmu Workshop on 5 July for some fun, friendly competition with one purpose in mind: whakawhanaungatanga (connection with others). Within te ao Maori, connection to others is an important aspect, and Teiaro will explore this through games and katakata (laughter).
- Kapa Haka Poi Making
Join instructor Rawinia Murray for a one-day workshop in the art of poi-making, on either 18 or 19 July at The Artery. The students will also learn waiata with the accompanying poi actions, and gain a better understanding of the origin and whakapapa of the poi.
There is much to remember and be thankful for, and still more to look ahead to. Creative Bay of Plenty hopes you will find inspiration in the early morning sky, and transfer some of that down to earth as these and other activities share in our Matariki celebrations…
Matariki, we look to the heavens to guide us into the future, to stand in the present, to grow from past lessons,
Matariki, the world that we know today, a time to celebrate as a people, our culture, knowledge, language and diversity,
Matariki, a symbol of the many faces of our people, whose heritage spans the Pacific and celebrated through whakapapa.
Matariki Tauranga Moana welcomes you to discover the significance of Matariki and explore ways to observe the Māori New Year with whanau and friends.
You can find these events and more on our What’s On page, where you can browse upcoming creative events and workshops in the Bay of Plenty.