Matariki shines on the Bay

Mauao Milky Way – Photo: Alan Ludlam.

At dawn tomorrow, a new Ātea-ā-Rangi – a ritual space – will be opened on the summit of Mauao, signifying the start of Matariki – and the first ever public holiday in Aotearoa to celebrate the Māori New Year.

As a special space to perform rituals, the Ātea-ā-Rangi will include a unique sculpture at its centre which will incorporate touch stones and a star compass, says master navigator Jack Thatcher.

The “radiating rings” of the star compass will indicate constellations, mountains and islands significant to Aotearoa.
“People will be able to see on the star compass the special places that have some meaning to the indigenous peoples, but also to the stories that almost every indigenous race around the world has –so that includes everyone,” says Jack.
The highest touchstone of the sculpture will be a piece of pounamu, gifted by the Ngāi Tahu iwi. “People will touch the stone and add their life force into that, which also helps with enabling the people to feel a stronger affinity to the mountain itself,” says Jack.

Back down at Mauao’s base tomorrow, a community day festival will be held at the Mauao Campground from 9am-3pm. The event will be open to all to enjoy the festivities, from flying kites, a special screening of short film ‘The Navigators’ and a scrumptious food market to fuel the fun.

Also – thanks to a one-off National Jazz Festival being hosted on Matariki weekend – Jazz at the Mount at Porotakataka Park, Mount Maunganui’s urban space in the main shopping area, will allow people to soak up music from an outdoor stage of performances from 9.30am-5pm.

In Tauranga City families can enjoy Tauranga Art Gallery’s Matariki Star Hunt, open 10am-4pm daily to June 30. The Memorial Park Railway is hosting its Matariki Night Run from 6pm-9pm on June 24, so children can ride trains under the stars.

The Historic Village is hosting a massive number of events centred around Matariki – including exhibitions by Tipene Fitzell, Meadow Maharey, the Manākitanga - Whakairo Exhibition, He Uku Maioro (clay) by Que Bidois, the Te Pou Arataki Exhibition by Tame Iti (Ngai Tuhoe) and Joanne Black (Ngati Kahungunu), ‘E kore te patiki e hoki ki tona puehu’ by Justine Munn, and ‘Ngā Mata o Te Ariki’ Matariki exhibition with Hayley Smith.

“We really wanted to pull out all the stops and showcase some of the amazing Māori artists that live and work in Tauranga Moana,” says The Incubator director Simone Anderson. See more Matariki events at:

The Bay of Plenty Matariki Dish Challenge is on until July 17, with BOP eateries shining a light on local ingredients and Matariki as they vie to be named the champions.

In Te Puke, the community will devour live music, culture and kai at the ‘Te Kete Matariki’ community day from 10am-4pm tomorrow at Jubilee Park. Community coordinator Kassie Ellis invites to everyone to join them. “The festival is inclusive – everybody’s welcome!”

There’s also a three-day book sale in Te Puke in the name of charity – see page 10 of this newspaper. And a Sailathon fundraiser this Saturday, at The Strand, from 12 noon-3pm. See page 9 for more details.

In Tauranga City, the two-day Downtown Carnival jazz party – this year inside in city bars and restaurants – is on June 25-26. Find out more at:

Find more Matariki events to celebrate the long weekend at:

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