Matariki for Tamariki - A new expression of an ancient tale

By Kawe Roes , Mare Haimona-Riki

Budding dancers from different schools across Tāmaki Makaurau have joined the New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) to share the wonder of Matariki.

'Matariki for Tamariki' is a contemporary dance performance that choreographer Sean MacDonald hopes will encourage Kiwis to be more open to Māori culture and knowledge.

Choreographer Sean MacDonald (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa) says, "It connected me more with my culture and learning so much about the stars ... how they used to live their lives and how we should live our lives again with the environment.  I think there's a lot of humour in the piece."

Te Atarangi Richards (Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāti Maru) is one of ten budding dancers who spent a week training with the pros. 

She says, "We are trying to explain to everyone that doesn't really know about Matariki, the stars and their roles ... I'm looking forward to the crowds' reaction to what our kōrero is and what we are trying to project.

"I learned there's not seven anymore there's actually nine and they are protectors of different things like saltwater, seawater."
The show has drawn inspiration from Dr Rangi Mātāmua's book on Matariki.

"It's something that can bring us all together not just Māori but everybody," says MacDonald.

Matariki For Tamariki will be performed at the Māngere Arts Centre this weekend.