«previous next»

Saturday 18th July 2009


Officially New Zealand does not have a statutory holiday in Winter, which you will have heard me say makes for a very long and cold season. Christmas and New Year are of course recognised statutory holidays, yet remember they are in Summer downunder when held in December and January. Although many families celebrate a July or Mid-Winter Christmas, Winter Solstice or Thanksgiving there are no set dates or official holidays, therefore many people don't celebrate them.

However an increasing number of Kiwis have begun to recognised Matariki the native Māori New Year or Thanksgiving.
Matariki is marked by the arrival of a cluster of seven bright stars (also known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters) which is part of the constellation Taurus in the dawn sky in the month of June each year. Recently there have also been calls to make it a public holiday.

Until a couple of years ago, I didn't even know it existed! It was never covered in Māori language classes when I went to school. Since 2000, to bring greater appreciation and awareness to Kōrero Māori there has been quite a resurgence. As part of our home-schooling studies we have warmly welcomed this into our own family's curriculum and to including it as part of our new tradition of Winter festivities.

Traditionally it is a time of feasting and celebration, increasingly local art shows, concerts, craft classes and cultural performances celebrate Matariki. Designing and flying kites and setting off fireworks are also popular.
Historically Maori gathered to say goodbye to the dead, reflect on the past year, share skills and knowledge, and make plans for the coming year.

The word "Matariki" means 'the eyes of God' - before European settlement, the night sky was the only map and compass Maori used to measured time, the seasons and when to harvest and begin planning for the new planting season.

We joined in the celebrations back in June by creating our own flax crafts, weaving stars playing with poi, and decorating kete (bags/baskets) with floral arrangements and hanging fairy lights around our house.

We also feasted on a Hāngi in our backyard, an earth oven created in the ground which steams the food slowly over several hours.

The Māori ira tane (alpha males) build the fire to heat the stones and irons, while the Wahine (females) prepare the kai (food). The Kai in our case was succulent pork strips with manuka honey and ginger, vegetables including kumara (sweet potatoes), pumpkin, potato and carrots. You can also steam sweet puddings for dessert, chicken and corn - well anything really!

To finish our Matariki celebrations we made gingerbread biscuits in the shapes of tiki, koru and stars, all recognised Māori good luck symbols.

So how was our Matariki?
Ka mau te wehi! (It was awesome!)

Ka kite anō (see you again soon!)
White Nectarine and Purple Basil Mini Cakes Smoking Hot Tuna A Bowl of Sunshine Pear Shaped Something New To Feast Your Eyes On, Berries and Bunnykins Winners of The Edible Journey and Billington's Giveaway
Billingtons Light Muscovado Roasted Radish Brochettes - Sweet Giveaway The Edible Journey - A Taste of Banks Peninsula - Giveaway! The Packaging, The Book and The Little Guy. My Annual Christmas Contribution Sneaky Peek For Later in the Week Chocolate and Marzipan Tea Cakes
Seedlings in Black and White Chicken and Broad Bean White Chili Sunday Showcase on Monday Salted Caramel Custard and Baked Rhubarb with Orange Miners Lettuce with Sundried Tomatoes and Apricots Petites Elderflower Madeleines
Home · About Bron · Portfolio · Recipe Index · Unit Converter
RSS Feed · Atom Feed · Twitter · Facebook · Flickr · Bron's Amazon Store