Matariki: A new holiday is born with its own emblem

By Stefan Dimitrof

New Zealand's new public holiday gained its own tohu today, aimed at "symbolising how Matariki weaves New Zealanders together as people, interconnected through our past, present and future," Associate Heritage Ministere Kiritapu Allan said.

"It is an exciting emblem to help us tell the story of Matariki and begin those conversations about the mātauranga Māori underpinning our new holiday."

Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis and Allan were launching Te Tohu o Matariki to the public today.

From June 24 this year Matariki will be celebrated as a yearly public holiday. Davis said that “celebrating Matariki is an important step forward for New Zealand to build on the past and walk into the future as a modern Pacific nation.”

Allan doesn’t believe that Matariki is just a holiday.

“Matariki Day focuses on Māori culture, how Māori view the world and celebrates who we are as a nation.”

'Weaves us together as people'

Davis said the celebration of Matariki was an important step forward for Aotearoa New Zealand in reconciling its past and stepping forward into the future as a modern, Pacific nation.

Allan recognises that this is an opportunity of recognition for tikanga Māori and that “it is the opportunity for all to stop and reflect,” she said

“Te Tohu o Matariki will guide Matariki kaupapa for future generations and help centre mātauranga Māori at the heart of future Matariki celebrations”.

“The tohu symbolises how Matariki weaves us together as people, interconnected through our past, present and future. It is an exciting emblem to help us tell the story of Matariki.”

Allan is excited to see the future of Matariki being the Māori view of the world, as a celebration of who Māori are and the contribution it will have to that legacy for future generations.

“I look forward to seeing more tamariki and New Zealanders learn and embrace what this significant event in the Māori calendar is, and means to so many Māori,” Allan said.

The ministers said Matariki having such a positive cultural and social benefit would also have an economic effect during that time, with an estimation of $110-160 million cash injections for the domestic tourism industry.