Prime Minister Jacinda Arder launches Matariki Day at Te Whare Rūnanga at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds today
The Māori new year is now a public holiday, which will be first celebrated on Friday, June 24 next year.
While the Labour government gave Ngā Mata o te Ariki, more commonly known as Matariki the green light, the date itself was set in stone by the Matariki Advisory Group.
“Matariki will be a distinctly New Zealand holiday; a time for reflection and celebration, and our first public holiday that recognises Te Ao Māori,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in her speech at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.
The government has asked the Matariki Advisory Group to advise on future dates, as the exact timing of Matariki shifts each year, but these are required to always fall on a Monday or Friday.
The members of the Matariki Advisory Group are Professor Rangiānehu Mātāmua (chair), Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, Rereata Makiha, Victoria Campbell, Dr Pauline Harris, Dr Ruakere Hond and Jack Thatcher.
“Iwi mark the start of the Māori New Year in different ways around the country, so it’s important this holiday acknowledges those regional differences,” Mātāmua said.