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 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