CHB Mail - 2021-06-10


Fireworks display to light up Matariki


Waipukurau’s Russell Park is set to be the centre of attention on June 18 with Matariki celebrations and a fireworks display. Ngati Kahungunu Iwi is ready to kick start their 21st annual Matariki celebrations across their region from Wairarapa to Wairoa, and planning for the Waipukurau event is well under way. “The growth has been amazing,” says Te Rangi Huata, event manager for Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Inc. “We hosted our first Matariki in Hastings CBD in 2000 expecting a handful of friends and hundreds turned up. Our mantra has been ‘families having fun together, with food, festivities and fireworks’.” Te Rangi says the festival aims to revive the Ma¯ori tradition of marking the passage of time at the appearance of the Matariki star cluster on the eastern horizon at dawn. This signals a celebration to give thanks for the harvest and to remember loved ones lost all within a modern context. “Our tribal mantle is spread through six regions, and each has arranged a series of allied events from special feasts to Ma¯ori game activities culminating in a major free outdoor community event. This year there won’t be a major Matariki event in Napier however we are planning with Te Whanganui a Orotu taiwhenua a significant event next year.” Next year Matariki becomes a national public holiday on June 22. “Matariki is a Ma¯ori tradition for all New Zealanders to enjoy and join in.” Organisers of the Waipukurau event want to make residents near Russell Park aware of the fireworks display, which will happen at about 8pm on the evening of the June 18 event. “We will be doing a letterbox drop, but please make sure all pets are safe for the duration of the fireworks display.”


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