Matariki a time for city to shine

Event about celebration, family past and present





The appearance of the star cluster known in Aotearoa as Matariki amid our midwinter sky means it’s time to celebrate the start of the Māori New Year. Traditionally, it was a time for remembering those who have passed, celebrating new life, and sharing kai with whānau. But in the early 2000s the Māori Language Commission, the Ministry of Education and Te Papa became involved in the revival of Matariki celebrations. Kites, hot-air balloons and fireworks helped mark the occasion. And those more widely accepted celebrations ignited some debate over whether it should become an official public holiday in New Zealand, and now here we are set to celebrate our first official Matariki holiday in New Zealand. Regular listeners of The Hits and readers of this column should be well aware that I have long been an advocate for this to happen, and I’m excited for what it could mean. But I am a little concerned already about some people who are putting what I believe to be a negative spin on the whole celebration. Why do people get so easily offended? Questioning whether events should take place (because it is ‘insensitive’), and the idea around commercialisation (everything is today anyway) are already creating divides. It is another opportunity for our city to be busy across many sectors, and Rotorua could be regarded as the country’s capital city on a weekend like this. Matariki is special and should be treated as such, but it is going to take a while to bed in and for all New Zealanders to fully understand, but this has the potential to be our ‘thanksgiving’ . . . all about celebration and family past and present without any other overtures. We’ve got a big family get-together and dinner planned. That is something which normally only happens at Christmas, so I think we’re on the right track — are you? Caffeine costs The cost of living is a big topic right now for most of us, and if you’re trying to cut back on spending some new research says you may want to hold off on drinking caffeine before heading to the store. An international study has found that drinking coffee before going shopping can impact what products you choose to buy, as well as how much you spend. A press release says: “Caffeine, as a powerful stimulant, releases dopamine in the brain, which excites the mind and the body. This leads to a higher energetic state, which in turn enhances impulsivity and decreases self-control. This decrease in selfcontrol can lead to shopping impulsivity in terms of higher number of items purchased and greater spending.” All that scientific stuff aside, for me it simply comes down to the fact that if I don’t have my coffee I wouldn’t have the energy to even get to the store to buy stuff, right? Busy time My busy events season continues and I’m out of town next week on MC duties, so my local radio show and this column will have another short break. But July will see some great local events like the Ronald Mcdonald Family Retreat Supper Club, Ohomairangi Art & Fashion Show, and the Recycle The Runway fundraiser for Dress For Success. See for all the exciting event info! ■