Matariki events begin


Tamahere School will celebrate Matariki, the Maori New Year, next week with students joining together in their hapu groups to prepare and enjoy food, some from the school’s own maara kai (vegetable garden).

Meanwhile, the Waikato District Council is supporting a variety of events across the district to mark Matariki, between June 25 and July 3.

The largest is the seventh Matariki Festival hosted by Te Whare Toi o Ngaruawahia – Twin Rivers Community Art Centre.

This year the festival is based around one of the stars in the Matariki constellation, Tupuaanuku, which is associated with the soil and its bounty.

It includes the development of collaborative ceramic art work in all nine primary and pre-schools in Ngaruawahia.

Ceramic artist David Kenny is working with the students to make ceramic tiles to create a Pare (door lintel) as a permanent art work for each school.

It will culminate in a day of celebration at the Twin Rivers Community Art Centre (2-7pm, Saturday, July 20) to open an exhibition of the art work, including a large mural of the wings of the kotare (kingfisher) created by local tamariki (children) on a related arts programme.

There will also be performances by local tamariki and artists, storytelling, a live performance by the Matariki Glow Show and a celebration with traditional kai and mahi toi.

A weekly art class for adults led by David Kenny at the Twin Rivers Community Art Centre will also contribute ceramic tiles for a permanent public art installation on the pergola in the public open square in Jesmond St, Ngaruawahia.

Council Iwi and Community Partnerships Manager Sam Toka said the district is home to Waikato-Tainui as well as a wider Maori community and rich in Maori history, culture and tradition.

“As well as being informative and entertaining, we hope that our district Matariki activities and events will help to educate, inform and raise awareness of the practices and traditions of Matariki locally and regionally,” he said.

Also on will be a Matariki Celebration day of family activities including art, craft, storytelling and food led by the Port Waikato Community Health and Support Services Trust and Art at the Port at Te Whare Oranga o Te Puaha, Ooraeroa Marae, on June 29.

In Raglan, a musical performance by singer/songwriter Teia Kennedy, lit by clay Matariki lanterns, on June 22 will be held at the Raglan Old School Arts Centre Gallery.

A one-day, community event led by the Waimakariri Maori Women’s Welfare League will focus on the art of harakeke (flax) and traditional protocols.

A two-week Matariki ki Waikato art exhibition at Tupu Te Toi Art Gallery in Rangiriri, showcasing Maori artists with links to Waikato-Tainui, will run from June 25 to July 10.

The annual Waikato District Libraries Matariki art and poetry competition is also now open, with prizes available in three different age groups.

Pick up an entry form from any Waikato District Council office or library, or download it here. Entries close on Friday, June 14.

Event funding

The events have been funded by the council either out of its Creative Communities Scheme and from discretionary Council funding, or its iwi liaison budget.

The council has a number of funding options for anyone seeking funding for a future community project or event.

The council’s Discretionary Grants Fund is currently open for applications and closes on July 5.

The Creative Communities Fund will be open for applications from July 19 to August 23.

The Heritage Project Fund is currently open for applications and closes on June 28.

For these and other funding opportunities, check details on the council website or email Community Development Advisor, Lianne van den Bemd, at

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