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Matariki and Puanga celebrations across UCOL campuses

By UCOL on Monday, 13 June 2022

A Matariki weaving workshop at UCOL Wairarapa.

There will be a special emphasis on individual stars that make up the Matariki cluster, alongside hangi, waiata, workshops, a webinar, and cookies.

On Friday, 24 June, Aotearoa | New Zealand will mark the Māori New Year with a public holiday. Matariki is the name of the constellation used by iwi from the East Coast to mark New Year, whereas, for iwi from the West Coast, the New Year is marked by the appearance of the star Puanga.

Teina Mataira, UCOL Pouārahi, Executive Director Te Mana Tauira said Matariki activities are being led by the Raukura – Māori & Pasifika Pastoral Care Team, Te Mana Tauira, the Kaiwhakahaere of each campus and Ngā Upoko Māori o Wairarapa (Māori/ Pasifika Kaimahi).

“It is an amazing feeling to consider how far we have come. For generations, our New Year celebration was suppressed and hidden. We’ve recently brought it back to the public domain by educating people about what Puanga and Matariki are. Now, pretty much everyone has heard of it and has some understanding of what it means.”

“I’m so proud that our UCOL team, whānau, hapū. and iwi across Aotearoa can share this special time of remembrance, preparation and action with the wider community.”

Teina said UCOL will use this time to celebrate Māori culture, through karakia, waiata, story-telling. and sharing kai.

Alongside the activities leading up to Matariki, a major piece of multimedia art is in the making. In August, UCOL’s Bachelor of Creative Media students and tutors, working in consultation with the community and Palmerston North City Council, will be projecting ākonga and kaimahi imagery, as a three-story high multi-sensory celebration of Waitī. Waitī is one of the stars making up the Matariki cluster; it represents fresh water and the food sources sustained by those waters. UCOL will publicise details closer to the time for this public August showcase.

In the week leading up to public holiday, our digital screens will display Matariki related videos, there’ll be regular karakia for those who wish to take part, and Matariki cookies.

Also, with UCOL being part of the Te Pūkenga whānau, we are encouraging kaimahi to learn more about Matariki and Puanga by joining a webinar led by the country’s leading Matariki and Te Āo Māori exponents Professor Rangi Mātāmua, Mataia Keepa and Victoria Campbell called: ‘Whakanuia Te Kāhui o Matariki’.

Other Matariki activities across UCOL campuses include: 
  • Manawatū campus:
    • Harakeke earring and poi-making workshop followed by kai –  22 June
    • Matariki Waitī multimedia display on Block 4 UCOL King/Queen St carpark. Test run – 27 June. Public event – August (date and time to be confirmed)
  • Whanganui campus:
    • Soup Day lunch – 20 June
    • BBQ lunch – 21 June
    • Te rā whānau lunch for kaumatua, kuia and ākonga, Tote bag decorating and waiata – 22 June
  • Wairarapa campus:
    • Ngā Upoko Māori o Wairarapa (Māori/ Pasifika Kaimahi) have created three activities framed around four of the stars in the Matariki cluster:
      • Pōhutukawa, remembering tūpuna and whānau who have passed on – 20 June
      • Tupuānuku and Tupuārangi, connection with food grown and food from the sky, this is a movement session followed by hāngī – 5 July
      •  Hiwa i te rangi: casting our wishes, aspirations and future goals for the new year – 12 July
  • Horowhenua campus:
    • Kapahaka followed by a hangi – 29 June.
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