Once a year, twinkling in the winter sky just before dawn, Matariki (the Pleiades) signals the Māori New Year. Traditionally, it was a time for remembering the dead, and celebrating new life. In the 21st century, observing Matariki has become popular again.
Which brought me to an interesting observation: How do we in the 21st Century celebrate an occasion as old as the stars themselves? How is it that now in a world very different to the one in which people planned their lives and movements around the stars do we do justice to such an important time of year?
Well, learning. Learning about the importance of Matariki throughout the years I’ve found has given back to me as an individual, a person, a woman and a Pacific Islander. I urge all people to try to learn something new about the Maori New Year this year. It will be easy to do with an AMAZING Matariki Festival organised across New Zealand for 2012 and also answers my initial question. How do we celebrate Matariki now? With a packed events calendar and lots of modern takes on traditional performance ( The 2 Degress Kapa Haka Super 12s for example) This year the Matariki Festival is made up of Art, Performances, Talks, Environment focussed events, workshops and family friendly days. Think beaches, planting, MAGIC, plays, concerts, Kapa Haka, food forums the list goes on. Here are a few I am excited about Atamira Dance Company presents: Kaha and Muriwai Matariki Magic but you can find all the events taking place for the Matariki 2012 festival here.