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News Feature

Who doesn’t love a holiday? Or a day off school?

It’s usually pretty awesome. You might have seen here on Kiwi Kids that Jacinda Arden’s Labour government has proposed to make a new public holiday in celebration of Matariki. But there is a whole lot more to this potential public
holiday than just a day off school.

If you don’t know, Matariki is the Maori celebration of the start of the New Year. The name Matariki means the “eyes of god” or “tiny eyes” and refers to a cluster of stars. Although there are different myths about the origins of Matariki, one Maori story is that Ranginui, the father of the sky and Papatūānuku, were separated by their children and Rangunui became so angry he tore his own eyes out and tossed them into the sky; creating Matariki.

The cluster of stars appears in the sky around the last few days of May. It is believed that the brighter the stars are, the more successful the harvested crop will be for the next season. Matariki is traditionally celebrated by gathering with one’s family, reflecting on the past and remembering those who have passed away. Usually, offerings for good crops are made to land-based gods and new trees
were planted to signal new beginnings.

In a statement about making Matariki a holiday, Jacinda Arden said “As New Zealanders we are proud of who we are, what we stand for, and the way we weave together different worlds and cultures to create our unique national identity.”

Do you have any interesting facts about Matariki? Let us know in the comments below

If you’re living in Auckland your life has changed quite dramatically in the last few days. The movies, the skate park, even the library is off limits now and everyone is walking around in face masks. 

It can be quite scary and it’s an unsettling time for many people as some of their human rights are restricted so other rights can be upheld.  

We have human rights that are widely agreed to on a global scale by many countries to help protect a life of freedom and dignity, for all people, no matter their backgrounds. 

Very rarely we find ourselves in a very serious situation where limiting some human rights can help protect other rights.  

COVID-19 is one of those serious situations because the virus threatens the life and health of people. The main rights being protected here are the right to life itself as the virus can be fatal, and the right to health due to the health issues people face if they contract the virus.  

To protect these rights, the right to freedom of movement and liberty are being restricted. That’s why you can’t pop down the road to a friend’s place, or anyone outside your bubble. That’s why it’s important to find new ways to connect with and care for your loved ones and whānau like never before! 

But the good news is, it’s not forever! The better job we do of controlling the virus and eradicating it once again from New Zealand, the faster we can go back to enjoying all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  

In the meantime we’ve created The Big Kindness Count for people to share the kind things they are doing for one another – even at a distance! Over 21,000 acts of kindness were logged during the last lockdown! Have a look at the Facebook page and see what else you might be able to add to the list! 

You can find the full list of human rights here in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.