Pictured are some of the organisers: Kaea Rangi Williams (Te Whakatōhea Trust board), Joseph Hayes (Opotiki District Council), Anna Kurei (Opotiki District Council), Jade Kameta (HFEC) and Thomas Mitai (Terere Marae).
Matariki hunga nui, Matariki ahunga nui, Matariki tāpuapua, Matariki Haukunui, Matariki tohu mate, Matariki takoha nui, Matariki te whetu o te tau!
This year Aotearoa celebrated the first official public holiday acknowledging the rising of Matariki. For Healthy Families, we’d like to acknowledge the commitment of all of the maramataka and mātauranga practitioners that have contributed to the recognition of Matariki as a public holiday.
Healthy Families East Cape is continuously working towards a return to Māori systems - the reconnection with our traditional practices and cultural frameworks that sustained our whānau in times of challenge and prosperity.
In the spirit of the Ōpōtiki Matariki Festival 2022, TE ARO KI NGĀ WHETŪ I TERERE, we collaborated to hold wānanga at Terere Marae to observe the stars and share stories. Healthy Families East Cape Rautaki Māori Jade Kameta spent the lead-up to Matariki developing connections, knowledge, and valuing experience within and across our communities.
Matariki embodies the health and wellbeing of our taiao (environment) and the communities in which we live. It is no coincidence that each star represents our connection to Kai, wai, and people. The stars also connect us to whakapapa, including tupuna who had passed on. This is echoed in the way that we approach our health and wellbeing.
Jade was humbled to be invited by the organisers to collaborate at this wānanga, he aimed to get people to look up at stars as our tupuna did, and connect through pūrākau (stories).
Despite the early morning start of 5am, the wānanga was well attended by kaumatua, mokopuna, Māori, and non-Māori, all demonstrating the community’s appetite for mātauranga Māori, ngā whetū, and particularly the aroha for Matariki shone through. The most exciting part of the wānanga was hearing some of the participant’s reactions as the kōrero connected with them.
“This is mātauranga Māori in action, our people engaged in mātauranga Māori practices, like wānanga, that deepens our connection with the environment and promotes wellness” says Jade.
Matariki is more than just celebrating the beginning of the Māori new year. It is elevating mātauranga Māori. The impact of Matariki now being a public holiday ensures that traditional practices like the maramataka continue to be lifted and normalised in Aotearoa.