This week, whānau across Aotearoa are enjoying the first public holiday marking the rising of Matariki. It has been truly fabulous to see the country getting behind this significant event, and celebrating the traditions and stories of our tīpuna.
The whakataukī about ngā purapura a Matariki, or the seeds of Matariki, traditionally referred to the seasonal snowfall that often accompanied the rising of the star cluster. Today, we like to think that the seeds of Matariki are evident in the many gifts that this tradition has bestowed upon us as it is revitalised across the country, and its rich history and customs quickly become part of our national identity. It is wonderful to see the myriad of ways that whānau and communities are choosing to acknowledge the rising of Matariki.
Here at Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, Matariki is first and foremost an opportunity to reflect upon the year that has passed, and to spend some time thinking about all the loved ones that we have farewelled in the past year. We keep their memories alive in our hearts even as we acknowledge their ascent into the night sky, where they join our tīpuna from years gone by.
We are also turning our thoughts to the pōtiki of the Matariki cluster, Hiwa-i-te-rangi, who safeguards our hopes and dreams and helps bring them to fruition. This is a time to set our aspirations for our mahi in the next year, and to plan out the path to success.