Matariki (Māori New Year) is celebrated in Winter when the star cluster, Matariki (also known as Subaru or Pleiades in other cultures) is visible. It is a time to celebrate reflect, and bring in a new year together. This year will be the first Matariki event at Bromley Community Centre has held, and staff hope to make it an annual event.
Emma Feather Shaw, the Programme Support Worker at the Community Centre, has been working alongside Centre Manager Hana Kakoi to bring an exciting and accessible Matariki programme to life. Shaw is excited by how much enthusiasm the event has been met with. “We’ve called on our community and people are pulling together to put on a wonderful event on a very limited budget! Our neighbours, aunties, and some local businesses are all helping out. It’s great to see so many different Matariki celebrations happening across the city, and we are excited to be bringing one to the Bromley community!”
Members of the local Māori community will be sharing skills like harakeke flax weaving, and poi making. People will also have the opportunity to make and fly kites. “Manu tukutuku, or Māori kites, were traditionally flown for recreation, communication and even acts of divination,” explains Shaw. “They are also a traditional way of celebrating Māori New Year, so it is an appropriate activity to help our local kids connect with their ancestral past and some of the ideas behind Matariki.”
A giant octopus will also be visiting. Te Wheke is an art installation built by a crew of local Christchurch artists led by Tania Bracey-Brown. Shaw describes Te Wheke as a “big, dancing octopus made from recycled materials. He is modelled on the Maori health model of Te Wheke which represents holistic wellbeing or hau ora, and the importance and connection of different aspects of health. People grab a tentacle each and work together to help him have a kanikani!”
Matariki themed colouring in resources have come from Smoke Free Auahi Kore and Te Wananga o Aotearoa, and members of the Community Centre’s Womens Group have donated craft supplies for a star making workshop. The Centre’s After School Kids Club have been busy making Matariki decorations for the celebration too.
Shaw is expecting a good turn out on the night, and hopes “it will be a great time for the community to come together, have some fun, and keep warm in a nice gathering space on what will no doubt be a cold night!”
Everyone is welcome to join in the celebrations. There will be free entertainment, free activities, free tea and coffee, free fruit, plus affordable, yummy Māori kai available to purchase.