Ōtepoti’s second Matariki celebration

By Deborah LaHatte

Tūhuna Otago Museum, Ngai Tāhu and Dunedin City Council are hosting their second Matariki dawn ceremony on June 24.

Tūhuna Māori science engagement coordinator Toni Hoeta is looking forward to the second “beautiful ceremony, followed by a big kai”.

The event at 7am will be a tribute to loved ones who have died over the past year and Dunedinites have been asked to send in photos of their whānau members to appear on a projector wall outside the museum during the ceremony.

Karakia will welcome the new season; with whakamaumahara reflecting on departed loved ones. It will also feature waiata and kapa haka.

Hoeta says the ceremony is part of a three-day event where people can come to Tūhuna to learn the tikanga, take part in games, make traditional kites and learn how to look for the Matariki stars.

First indigenous holiday

She says the museum aims to become a place where the public can learn “about tikanga, the proper ceremony and feeding the stars.”

Hoeta is excited about the programme: “We are celebrating this beautiful event as our first indigenous holiday grounded in mātauranga Māori.

“That’s something we as a nation should absolutely be proud of and this is going to be normalised in years to come, so, when I have children, it will be like ‘Oh, it’s Matariki time again’ and it will be normal for them.”

On Te Ao Tapatahi, Hoeta tells presenter Piripi Taylor that her professional resolution for the new year is to “lift the mātauranga throughout the museum and take it out into the community”.

“Personally, I have been watching Che Wilson’s channel, Te Papae Waho. He was talking about picking up the tikanga on the marae and setting up the wharepuni and stepping onto the paepae. That’s what my māmā does, so I hope to learn that process, so one day I can teach my babies.

“Mānawatia a Matariki.”