Today, June 24, 2022, we as a nation celebrated and recognised our first Matariki as a national holiday. Matariki has always been a part of the fabric of our culture for Māori. It is a time when everything resets, where we take a moment before Ngā Mata Ariki o Tāwhirimātea, the eyes of our God Tāwhirimātea, the constellation also known as Pleiades, rises in the east in our dawn skies, and on the day of the new moon, we celebrate our Māori New Year. Everything is reset for the year to come. We reflect on the past, remember those we have lost in the last twelve months before we acknowledge the now. Spend time with our loved ones before we look to the future and plan for what we will need to thrive as a people, as a whanau (family) as an individual. For Aotearoa, today is a moment in time that we need to remember, a moment where we are starting to build and understand what our cultural identity is for us the people who call Aotearoa, New Zealand home. Throughout the year, we have been filled a figurative bag with all our experiences, moments that have filled us with pleasure and others that have filled us with pain, we have taken everything and carried it with us through the year, and it was a hard and difficult year to navigate. Now is the time, as we reflect on that year, acknowledge who we are now, and start to plan for what we need for this new year that approaches, to let go of that bag, to free ourselves of the past twelve months, and step into this new year with a fresh view of Te Ao, and none of the baggage you carried in the last year. So, Manawatia o Matariki – celebrate Matariki. Ngā mihi o Matariki, te tau hou Māori.

Words: Kylie Ruwhiu-Karawana
Photo credit: Chris McCormack