The Matariki ki Waikato festival is here and the organisers, Te Ohu Whakaita Charitable Trust, celebrated the official launch on Friday.
The dawn ceremony at the Hamilton Gardens was officiated by Tainui kaumātua and attended by more than 300 guests.
Following the ceremony, guests joined the trust and Friends of Hamilton Gardens for a light breakfast, entertainment and presentations about the significance of Matariki and the maramataka (lunar calendar).
Guests included Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta, Kingitanga spokesman Ngira Simmonds, Wintec kaumātua Tame Pokaia, Hamilton West MP Dr Gaurav Sharma, Creative Waikato CEO Dr Jeremy Mayall and Hamilton city councillors.
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Meanwhile, the first Matariki ki Waikato Market Day last Saturday at the Hamilton Gardens Pavillion set the mood for further events throughout the month.
The first market day brought together taonga Māori, kai, moko face painting and live entertainment to connect communities and support the development of the creative economy in Waikato.
The stalls had something for everyone in store: From pounamu jewellery, clothing, crystals, Māori-designed earrings, baby bibs and plant pots to art, hand-made beauty products and korowai.
If you missed out on the Hamilton market day, don't worry, there are two other creative markets coming up, in Raglan on June 26 and in Ngāruawāhia on July 9.
For a full Matariki event schedule click here.