Yesterday was a huge event for Aotearoa: at last we officially celebrate the traditional Maori new year, Matariki, with a public holiday. I found the dawn ceremony in Te Whanganui-a-Tara very moving. Mostly because of the meaning of Matariki, where we honour the environment, the forces of nature, humanity, harvest, family and the departed. But also because most of our other “national” holidays are hard to relate to in 2022. Queen’s Birthday? Guy Fawkes Day—what? Even Anzac Day is fraught with problems. And so on. Here at last we have a holiday that is capable of engaging everyone in Aotearoa.
I can’t and shouldn’t even try to explain Matariki to you. Instead, follow these links.
Videos of the dawn ceremony at Te Papa for Matariki, 2022. There’s a translation of the incantations! I want to read them again and again.
And this is what Kate says about her awesome plant art work:
Mānawatia a Matariki! Matariki is about reflection, hope, connection to the environment, people, and health and wellbeing, and this picture is all about those things. The night sky is made from the leaves of kawakawa, an important rongoā Māori plant. The holes in the leaves (made by the kawakawa looper moth caterpillar) have white tree lucerne flowers (non-native, but a favourite food for kererū) shining through to form tiny stars. The nine stars of the Matariki cluster sit on pukira clam shells. The centre of each star is a mānuka (cultivar) flower, and the points are made from ponga/silver fern fronds and yellow gorse flowers. Even though gorse is a weed, it also represents hope for the environment because it facilitates native forest regeneration and heals the earth. And if the earth is well, the people are well.Kate McAlpine, https://plantart.nz
P.S. I have just realised that “spiritual” contains the word “ritual.” The Matariki public holiday is both.
P.S. According to WordPress, you are 95% likely not to be a Kiwi. So, my fellow Kiwis, just enjoy the art because you know all this 🙂Follow Write Into Life