Matariki law passes in Parliament

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The law setting up a Matariki public holiday – set for 24 June this year – has passed in Parliament.

The law adds a 12th day of public holiday to New Zealand’s working year.

The Te Pire mō te Hararei Tūmatanui o te Kāhui o Matariki/Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Bill passed its third reading without the support of National or Act.

The bill sets dates for the holiday date through until 2052, falling on the Friday closest to the Tangaroa lunar phase – when the last quarter-moon rises – of Piripi, a period typically falling between June and July.

It marks the beginning of the Māori New Year, the most significant celebration in the traditional Māori calendar.

Plans are under way for nationwide events to help support the celebrations.

Matariki brings a focus on remembering those who have died, celebrating the present, and looking ahead to the future and the coming season, though the stories told, traditions honoured and exact timings differ by iwi and hapū.

The bill is only the fifth piece of legislation drafted in both te reo Māori and English.

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