There will be no shortage of ways for people to come together to celebrate and reflect for Matariki 2021.
Matariki is a constellation of stars which appears in the night sky in the middle of winter, bringing the lunar year to a close and heralding the start of the Māori New Year - Te Tau Hou Māori.
This cluster of stars, known as the Pleiades, is given the Māori name Matariki, which in Māori translates to the "eyes of God" (mata ariki) or "little eyes" (mata riki).
It is a time of reflection, where people reflect on the year that has past and prepare for the future.
The Rotorua Lakes Council is once again inviting people to commemorate their loved ones who have passed on since the rising of Matariki in July 2020 to its setting in June 2021.
A Matariki Memorial Tribute Video is being created. If you have a loved one you would like to be included, send their photo, their name, and date of passing to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, June 21.
The images will be combined to create a special memorial slideshow which will be posted at dawn on Friday July 2, so we can all remember our tangata together.
The Matariki exhibition Matariki – Te Tau Hou Māori will be hosted at the Rotorua Library from June 21 to July 11 and is a time to reflect on the past, celebrate the present and plan for the future.
On July 4 there will be a delicious opportunity to learn more about Matariki from a leading expert and try some kai samples at the Rotorua Farmers Market at 11am.
Matariki links to the growing and harvesting of kai, its contribution to healthy families and the use of Maramataka (Māori lunar calendar).
Te Rangikaheke Kiripatea, head of Kai Rotorua, will talk about the growing and harvesting of produce.
Kai Rotorua is a non-profit organisation that aims to reconnect people with papatuanuku through kai.
Following the talks, visitors will be welcome to taste some locally grown and prepared dishes including kumara soup served with rēwena bread.
From July 2 to July 10 there will be Matariki Tauira, where over the nine days Te Aka Mauri will run events that focus on Matariki, in particular the stars and their deeper meaning for Māori.
Hosted at the Rotorua Library, each day will focus on a particular whetū (star) in the Matariki whānau.
On Saturday, July 10 families can twinkle and shine like the stars at Matariki – Ride the Night. It will be held at 5pm at the Redwoods under the sails.
Get the whānau and decorate your bike with fairy lights, glow-sticks, torches, flashing lights and reflectors to be part of this fun and informative night ride.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the first Matariki public holiday will be on June 24, in 2022.
She said it would move around in following years to fit in with the rising of Matariki.
A panel of experts on tikanga and astronomy would set the dates for future years – but it is likely to always be on a Friday or a Monday.
It will be the first new public holiday in New Zealand in almost 50 years and the 12th public holiday of the year.