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Hastings hosts three days of Matariki celebrations

te mata matariki

Ngāti Kahungunu celebrations began atop Te Mata Peak this morning with fire, and waiata from Kahurangi Māori Dance Company.

Music, dance, kai, a lantern parade, digital light show and more are on offer in Hastings and Flaxmere this week as part of an extra special celebration for the new public holiday for Matariki.

Matariki is a time to gather, think of our loved ones who have left us, and give thanks for what we have, and Hastings District Council city centre activations officer Andrea Taaffe said it was exciting to be working with Ngāti Kahunugnu Inc and event organiser Te Rangi Huata to add some new events to the annual calendar this year.

“Over three days this week, starting tomorrow, Hastings people will have a range of options to enjoy this celebration and reflect on our country’s Māori culture, people and places.

“Maybe come and warm yourself around the ‘welcome fires’ and hear the stories of Nga Pou o Heretaunga while watching the Matariki stars digital light show; or enjoy music, dance and kai at the Matariki Feast; remember loved ones at the Pools of Matariki, or join the lantern parade – there’s something for everyone.”

Traditionally, Matariki was a time to acknowledge the dead and to release their spirits to become stars.

It was also a time to reflect, to be thankful to the gods for the harvest, to feast and to share the bounty of the harvest with family and friends.

Feasting will be on the menu on the Friday night public holiday event - the Hākari Matariki – Matariki Feast, where there will also be a live entertainment showcase of singers, bands, kapa haka, choirs and hip hop dancers before a spectacular fireworks finale.

There will be food trucks at this free event at Tomoana Showgrounds that runs from 5pm to 10pm on Friday, June 24.

People don’t have to wait until then to start getting into the spirit of the celebration.

From tomorrow night (Wednesday, June 22) people will be able to float a waka lantern on the tranquil waters of the Flaxmere Pond, and there will be a stunning Matariki stars digital light display on the Hastings District War Memorial Library to delight and amaze running every evening until Sunday, June 26.

There will also be storytelling, and a whangai i te hautapu ceremony – a sacred tradition based on making a food offering to the Matariki star cluster, which rises as hot steam up into the skies – both in Civic Square, and to round it all off on Saturday, June 25 join the lantern parade that will illuminate the Hastings city centre.

Craft your own lantern at home or collect one from Civic Square to follow the lights and music. Finish the parade with kai from food trucks or share a plate of traditional hangi before snuggling around the welcome fires to enjoy the Matariki stars digital light show.

For all the details of these events go to www.hawkesbaynz.com/matariki

21 June 2022

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