Matariki teaches a new beginning

Waka ama sprint races, entertainment, reading and craft projects have been a few of the avenues for families and their children to learn more about Matariki, the beginning of the Maori New Year.

A group of Hawke's Bay reggae musicians, Jah Children, performed at a Matariki concert at Te Papa in Wellington on Thursday night before making the trip back to the Bay to sing at a Matariki entertainment event held at the Soundshell on Napier's Marine Parade on Friday night.

The weather was kind for the crowd of about 300 who were at the concert, which was opened by the Waiohiki Culture Group and followed by local entertainers such as emerging talent, Taletha Blake, who starred in last summer's Maori Motown and Hawke's Bay rapper, Tipene.

A free public Matariki event was also held in Flaxmere on Friday night, at Flaxmere Park. Dancers competed in the Beyonce "Move Your Body" contest. A video clip of the dance routines can be found at

The finale featured a spectacular fireworks show to music in the evening. Both events were supported by Ngati Kahungunu Inc, which was helping communities promote and run their celebrations.

At the Clive River on Saturday, the Heretaunga Ararau O Ngati Kahungunu Waka Ama Roopu hosted the 4th annual Matariki Sprints, an annual mid-winter waka ama event. There were 15 teams from clubs and schools competing, totalling about 60 paddlers.

Also on Saturday, children enjoyed a "Celebration of Matariki" event at Edukids, on Riverbend Rd in Napier, learning how to make poi and also reading stories.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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