Maori Television is celebrating the indigenous New Year with a two-part special, MATARIKI MA WHITU, screening on Monday June 18 at 9.30 PM and Wednesday June 20 at 10.00 PM.
Presenter Te Kauhoe Wano (Te Atiawa) will lead a studio-based discussion about Matariki – a cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters – with distinguished guests Amster Reedy (Te Aitanga-a-Mate, Te Whanau o Putanga ki Tikitiki), Vapi Kupenga (Ngati Porou) and Professor Pou Temara (Ngai Tuhoe).
For Maori, the stars’ appearance in the skies above Aotearoa signifies the end of one year and the beginning of another. In 2007, the Aotearoa Pacific New Year officially begins on June 16.
Traditionally, Matariki (translated as tiny eyes or eyes of God) occurred at the end of harvest and was a time to celebrate, prepare the land for planting, renew associations with whanau and friends, reflect on the past and set goals for the future.
Maori Television general manager of programming Larry Parr says the revival of Matariki has been gaining momentum in recent times and this year’s celebrations will be one of the largest New Zealand has ever seen.
The two, half-hour specials – MATARIKI MA WHITU – will be delivered entirely in reo Maori with English language subtitles for the benefit of all viewers.
“In traditional Matariki fashion, we will pay tribute to those that have passed on including the Maori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, Samoa’s Head of State, His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II, King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV of Tonga, and Don Selwyn among others,” says Mr Parr.
“We will listen to our guest tohunga discuss what Matariki meant traditionally and also find out what Matariki means today. There are festivals, exhibitions and many displays and gatherings all over the country – but are they appropriate?”
A celebration of culture, language, spirit and people, MATARIKI MA WHITU screens on Maori Television on Monday June 18 at 9.30 PM and Wednesday June 20 at 10.00 PM.