'This is when we came of age' - Sir Pou Temara

By Kelvin McDonald
Source / Te Papa

Tohunga Māori conducted a pre-dawn hautapu ceremony at Te Papa on Friday to launch the first Matariki public holiday.

The ceremony was led by Sir Pou Temara.

“This is a moment that future generations will look upon and say 'this is when we came of age'," he said.

Professor Rangi Matamua, who led the Matariki Advisory Committee that guided the creation of the new public holiday, also emphasised this theme.

“Matariki is something to share as a nation and to forge us together under one identity.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acknowledged the importance of the occasion.

“It feels incredibly symbolic to me, that stars that have been so integral in navigation by our ancestors, form now a waypoint on our journey as a nation. This waypoint in our journey offers us the chance to come together as families, but also as a nation, under the stars of a bright, optimistic, and hopeful Matariki,” she said.