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New Zealand celebrates Matariki

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On Aotearoa’s second Matariki public holiday, people across the country have gathered to celebrate and remember. Matariki marks the beginning of the new year in the Māori lunar calendar.

At Mt Ngongotahā in Rotorua, hundreds of people, including Dr Rangi Mātāmua, a key advocate for recognizing Matariki as a public holiday, came together to commemorate the occasion. Dr Mātāmua expressed his delight at the growing interest in Matariki and the embrace of its themes, such as honoring the deceased, celebrating identity, and considering our connection to the environment.

The 2023 theme for Matariki was “Matariki Kāinga Hokia,” which encouraged people to return to their families and communities. It emphasized the importance of recognizing our responsibility to our loved ones and the places we call home.

In Auckland’s Bastion Point, National Party member Christopher Luxon expressed how special it was to witness New Zealanders embracing Matariki and described it as a time for celebration and reflection. Government Minister Carmel Sepuloni, hosted by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, highlighted the significance of recognizing and valuing Māori knowledge and embracing new beginnings during Matariki.

For many, Matariki is a time to reflect on the past year, release what no longer serves us, and embrace new opportunities for growth and renewal. The public holiday provides an opportunity for communities to come together, connect with their roots, and celebrate the unique culture and traditions of Aotearoa.

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