Matariki: New beginning is written in the stars

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Matariki is an important event for Maori.
Matariki is an important event for Maori.

Matariki - the Maori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades - heralds the start of a new year for Maori, so to celebrate Northland is hosting a raft of events.

In the final days of May each year, a cluster of about 500 stars rises on the northeast horizon but only seven can be seen clearly with the naked eye here in Aotearoa.

This cluster is known as Pleiades but to the Maori it is Matariki, and marks the beginning of a new life cycle and the celebration of traditional Maori New Year.

Here is a list of events being held in Northland to mark Matariki:

- Memory Lane Gallery Exhibition - Three Baskets exhibition featuring Tawck Gbak (Earnest Bradley), Quincy Mike and Victor Te Paa, free entry, from this Friday to Saturday, June 30, Memory Lane Gallery, 10 John St.

- Matariki Sky - View Matariki in the sky, Every Saturday until July 20, 7.15pm, adults $15 and children $7.50, Planetarium North, Heritage Park, 500 SH14, Maunu.

- Design a Matariki Star - entry form pick-up from Whangarei Library, free entry for children 12 and under, until Saturday, July 2, Whangarei Central Library.

- He Rere Runga - Flying High Exhibition - explores kites within Maori culture and also those who, in a more metaphorical sense, are, or have been, high-flyers of our community and wider Northland, adults $15, seniors and adult students $10, children $5, opened Friday, June 10, Whangarei Museum at Kiwi North, Gate 1, 500 SH14 Maunu, Whangarei.

- Saturday Story Time - come along and enjoy listening to a dramatised retelling of traditional Maori myths and legends, free entry, Saturday, July 9, 10am-10.30am, Whangarei Central Library.

- Matariki Planting Day - Come along to be a part of restoring the health of the Waitaua Awa, tomorrow and Saturday, July 9, 10.30am-3pm, end of Gillingham Rd (off Corks Rd), Tikipunga.

- Taku Ahi Exhibition - Group exhibition featuring the work of local artists and their representation of Matariki, free entry, until Monday, July 4, Quarry Arts Centre, 21 Selwyn Ave, Whangarei.

- NorthTec Matariki - Children's Art Exhibition, opened on Monday, entry free, Te Puna o Te Matauranga Marae, NorthTec Raumanga Campus.

- Matariki Seven Sisters Exhibition Tour - Creative Northland touring their Seven Sisters exhibition at various galleries and centres around Northland throughout June and July, free entry, Kawakawa, Kaitaia and Whangarei.

- NorthTec Matariki - Tai Tokerau Reo Symposium - If you have a passion for te reo Maori, learning, living or researching, this symposium provides a rich tapestry of korero and workshops for hui participants, free entry, today 9am, Te Puna o Te Matauranga Marae, NorthTec Raumanga Campus.

- Flax Weaving Workshop - small group instruction in the craft of flax weaving by a skilled tutor. Entry is free but registration will be required. This Friday, from 9.30am-12.30pm, Whangarei Central Library, Maori Room.

- Hoe Matariki 2016 - Waka Ama Regatta - Fun, family-centred, social paddling event. Races for juniors, novice and experienced paddlers. Entertainment, hangi and spot prizes, Whangarei Cruising Club - Parua Bay Club House, Whangarei Heads Road, Parua Bay.

- Maori Medicine Workshop - intensive two-day workshop, $160 for whole weekend with registrations required (donna@oranewzealand.com), Saturday, June 25 to Sunday, June 26, 9.30am-4pm, Oakura Community Hall, Oakura Rd, Oakura.

- Family Planting and Picnic Day - Join us on Matakohe Limestone Island to help with the ongoing restoration work, no cost, Sunday, June 26, pick up from boat ramp at Beach Rd, Onerahi, at 9.30am, return at 1.30pm.

- Taku Ahi Festival - celebration of arts, gold coin entry, Saturday, July 2, Quarry Arts Centre, 21 Selwyn Ave, Whangarei.

- Flax Fun for Kids - Children, come along and learn how to weave a simple flax item, Saturday, July 2, 10.30am-12.30pm, Whangarei Central Library.

- Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori - Korero Maori Challenge - Go to the checkout desk at any Whangarei Libraries branch and greet the librarian in te reo Maori to be eligible to enter the Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori prize draw, Monday, July 4 to Sunday, July 10, All branches of Whangarei Libraries.

- Lunchtime Waiata - In celebration of Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori the Whangarei District Council Waiata Group will be singing some familiar waiata, free, Wednesday, July 6, 12pm-12.30pm, Whangarei Central Library.

- Matariki Preschool Funtimes - for pre-schoolers and home-schooled children with Maori themes, crafts, stories and waiata to celebrate Matariki Festival, Tikipunga Library, 10am-11am, every Tuesday until July 5 and Whangarei Central Library, 10am-11am, every Wednesday until June 7.

- Northern Advocate

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