By Tim Lucas | Posted: Wednesday June 30, 2021


Kā mihi o te tau hou ki a koutou! Happy New Year everyone!

For centuries people across the world have observed the rising and setting of stars as indicators of seasonal change and prosperity. In Aotearoa New Zealand the helical rising of the constellations Matariki (Pleiades) and Tautoro (Orion) and the stars Puaka (Rigel) and Takurua (Sirius) represent that transformation. When Puaka is suspended here in the deep South, we know it is time to make preparations for the colder months ahead. When Matariki rises, an insight can be acquired into the season ahead. It is also a time of reflection and to farewell those that have passed on. Pōhutukawa (Sterope) is the star that reminds is the star that reminds us of our treasured ones that have gone. The Puaka Matariki festival is unique to Ōtepoti Dunedin, marking the Māori New Year through community events. In bygone days, tangata whenua observed the rising of the star Puaka or the Matariki cluster of stars as the beginning of the New Year - the harvest season had ended and winter days were best spent indoors.

Tonight our kapa haka group, He Whetu Tirama, will be performing at Carisbrook School as part of the Puaka Matariki festival. Our students are singing waiata Matariki (Matariki songs) and performing the school haka. Thanks to Year 13 students Siobhan Stevenson and Keisha Su'a for the work they been doing to prepare the group for this event.

Siobhan will also be performing at the Dunedin Town Hall on the afternoon of  Saturday, 10 July at Te Hautoka (regional Kapa Haka competition) with talented kapa haka group Wairua Pūhou.

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