Public Holidays: Why Do We Have Them?

Apart from school holidays, there are other holidays in New Zealand that everyone gets to enjoy – even the adults! These are called Public Holidays and they must be enacted into law under the Holidays Act 2003 to be official public holidays.

aerial photography of city beside body of water during daytimeWellington Anniversary Day is regional holiday celebrated on the fourth Monday in January. The holiday commemorates the arrival of the first settler ship to New Zealand on 22 January 1840.

But there are also public holidays that are observed throughout New Zealand. Starting with the national holiday that’s coming up very soon (Labour Day), here’s a list all of New Zealand’s official holidays:

Labour Day – 4th Monday of October

Labour Day falls on the fourth Monday of October, so in 2021 it will be on Monday 25 October. New Zealand Labour Day is a holiday commemorating the fight for an eight-hour working day and New Zealand’s first Labour Day holiday was celebrated in 1890. Before that, often a working day could be very long with only a half-day or one day off a week.

According to NZHistory, the changes were started by a Wellington carpenter called Samuel Parnell. The story goes that Purnell was hired by a shipping agent, who commissioned him to construct a new store for him. Parnell agreed-but stipulated some terms of his own. He is famously said to have answered:

“There are twenty-four hours per day given us; eight of these should be for work, eight for sleep, and the remaining eight for recreation and in which for me to do what little things they want for themselves.”

Christmas Day and Boxing Day – 25 and 26 December

Christmas Day is an important festival in the Christian Calendar where they celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ – a pivotal deity in the Christian faith. Christmas in New Zealand is less about snow and sleigh bells and more about sun, sand and barbecues in the backyard! The name Boxing Day comes from a time when the rich used to box up gifts to give to the poor, their servants and tenant farmers.

New Year’s Day and the day after New Year’s Day – 1 and 2 January

Due to its geographical position close to the International Date Line, New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to welcome in a new calendar year.

Waitangi Day – 6 February

Waitangi Day marks the anniversary of the initial signing – on 6 February 1840 – of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is regarded as the founding document of the nation. The first Waitangi Day was not celebrated until 1934, and it was made a national public holiday in 1974.

Good Friday & Easter Monday

Easter is traditionally celebrated on the first Sunday following the full moon that lands on or just after the spring equinox. Easter is a Christian holiday that celebrates the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Christmas Day and Boxing Day, above).

Anzac Day – 25 April

Anzac Day, for both Australians and New Zealanders, first started in 1916 to commemorate those that were killed in the World War 1 (“The Great War”). Now we remember  all New Zealanders and Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. There are dawn remembrance services all around the country which New Zealanders old and young are attend. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corp.

Queen’s Birthday – Second Monday in June

The day has been celebrated since 1788, when Arthur Phillip, Governor of New South Wales (Australia), declared a holiday to mark the birthday of the king of Great Britain. Until 1936, it was held on the actual birthday of the monarch, but, after King George V died, it was decided to keep the date on the second Monday in June.

Matariki 2022

This will be a new public holiday from June 2022! New Zealand will celebrate Matariki as a public holiday from 24 June 2022. The calendar date for the Matariki public holiday will shift each year to align with the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar).

 


New Zealand’s history and how it’s public holidays came about, is a fascinating thing. Why not check out:

Labour Day / Boon, Kevin
“Outlines the history of the eight-hour working day in New Zealand and the role of Samuel Parnell in bringing this about. Looks at working conditions and labour relations in New Zealand, including sweatshops, the 1890 maritime strike, the Waihi Miners’ strike of 1912, the Great Strike of 1913, and the 1951 waterfront dispute.” (Catalogue)

The house that Jack built / Bishop, Gavin
“Uses the cumulative nursery rhyme, about the chain of events that started when Jack built a house, as a metaphor to illustrate the arrival and settlement of the European settlers in New Zealand during the early 19th century. Includes references to Maori folklore.” (Catalogue)

Illustrated history of New Zealand / Stenson, Marcia
Contents include: How we know about the past — Land of birds — Arrival of the Māori — Māori settlement — European explorers — Sealing, whaling, timber and trade — Missionaries and musket wars — Treaty of Waitangi — Pioneer settlers — Gold — Conflict between the races — Political changes — Changing ways of earning a living — Fighting outside New Zealand — Bad times and the role of the government — Disasters — Changes in our lives — Changes in Māori lives — Some of our heroes and heroines — How has human occupation affected New Zealand? (Catalogue)

Running the country : a look inside New Zealand’s government / Gill, Maria
“From the Bill of rights to the way we vote, from parliamentary headquarters to local council – and everything in between – Maria Gill explains our system of government. You will discover facts about laws, our currency, voting at the elections and the role of the media. There are fascinating profiles of New Zealand leaders, illustrated by cartoonist Malcolm Evans, along with photographs, amazing statistics and useful “google this” internet links to find out more. This revised edition brings us right up to the new Labour Government of October 2017 (in coalition with New Zealand First and The Green Party).” (Catalogue)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / Morris, Toby
“Dual-language, flip-book, graphic-novel-style non-fiction about about the Treaty of Waitangi developed for a general audience” (Catalogue)

Christian church / Wood, Angela
“What is a church for? Who is Jesus? What is the Bible? What happens in a church service? All these questions and more are explored in this first introduction to the religion of Christianity. The We Worship Here series introduces children aged 6+ to the main religions of the world. Each book features information about beliefs, values and the ways people worship. The books are clearly and sensitively written, checked by expert consultants and the text is supported with beautiful illustrations.” (Catalogue)

If I ran the country / Knight, Rich
“Congratulations! You’ve just become the leader of your own country! There are a lot of decisions to be made, and not long to make them. The good news is you’ve got your hands on this funny, fact-packed book, covering everything you need to know to rule effectively – no matter where in the world you are. But it’s not just about political systems, elections, climate change, justice and all those other things we hear politicians talking about. You also need to learn how to lead. With essential life and leadership skills and tips – from teamwork, confidence and compassion to discovering who you are and what you believe in – If I Ran The Country answers all the questions most often posed by first-time top dogs like you. You’ll be ruling like a pro in no time!” (Catalogue)

Horrible Christmas / Deary, Terry
“The complete horrible history of Christmas tells tales from the dark days when the Puritans tried to abolish Christmas, to Christmas in the trenches when the British and Germans traded bullets for footballs. Plus dreadful jokes, rotten recipes, and a Christmas quiz!” (Catalogue)

Celebrating Matariki / MacGregor, Jill
“In New Zealand, Mataraki is a time to remember ancestors and traditions of long ago. Maori iwi celebrate Matariki in different ways at different times. Tamarau and his friends share some ideas and activities for celebrating Mataraki.” (Catalogue)

Dawn of the twentieth century / Boon, Kevin
“Tracks key events in the first decades of the twentieth century as New Zealand became a more distinctive and independent society. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

Waitangi Day : the New Zealand story : what it is and why it matters / Werry, Philippa
“Reviews the historic events behind the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and charts the celebrations, tensions and protests witnessed in the years that followed, concluding with a summary of the Waitangi Day events held around the country on 6th February today” (Catalogue)

Whakanuia a Matariki: Our New Celebration Collection

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Matariki with your family during this festive, but chilly, season, look no further than your local library! If you pop down to any of our library branches this month, you’ll be able to find a special collection of books that look something like this:

A display of face-out childrens books about Matariki beneath a colourful sign decorated with silver star bunting.

Part of the Matariki Celebration Collection at Miramar Library

The books on these displays are part of our new Celebration Collection, and they will be on the shelves for a limited time only! They don’t appear on our online catalogue, so you won’t be able to reserve them, which means that unless they have all been borrowed, you’ll always be able to find some Matariki books on the shelf to take home!

After the Matariki celebrations have concluded, the books will be packaged up and sent back to Te Pātaka, our storage warehouse in Johnsonville, until the next time we need them. All of these extra books will help us deal with increased demand at certain times of the year — and help make sure that you aren’t disappointed when you come in looking for books about Matariki only to find they’ve all been borrowed already!

At the moment, we’ve only prepared a Celebration Collection for Matariki, but there are plans in the works to add Celebration Collections for other festivals and celebrations throughout the year as well, including Christmas, Easter, Eid al-Fitr, Ramadan, Chinese New Year, and Diwali, among others!

To whet your appetite, here are some of the wonderful titles that are part of the Matariki Celebration Collection at your local branch:

Ngā whetū Matariki whānakotia / Kamo, Miriama
“Sam and Te Rerehua search for the stars that have mysteriously gone missing.” (Catalogue)

Also available in Te Reo Pākehā as The Stolen Stars of Matariki.

Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka me te mahere Matariki / Quin, Kat
“Join Flit and his friends, Keri the kiwi and wise old Ruru, as they explore the night skies to work out how to capture a sparkling star. When the friends get lost, they follow the twinkling clues in the sky to find their way back home.” (Catalogue)

Also available in Te Reo Pākehā as Flit the Fantail and the Matariki Map.

Ngā manu tukutuku e whitu o Matariki / McClintock, Calico
“It is a special time of year. A time when the whispering wind blows warm from the east, and a crescent moon rises in the wintry night sky. Seven little sisters make kites with eyes of seashells to celebrate the New Year. But that playfulwind whips those kites away… Matariki is here!” (Catalogue)

Also available in Te Reo Pākehā as The Seven Kites of Matariki.

Te Huihui o Matariki / Rolleston-Cummins, Toni
“When Mitai’s seven handsome brothers are bewitched by seven beautiful women, Mitai seeks advice and learns that the women are patupaiarehe and must be cast far away. They are given to Urutengangana, the god of the stars, who places them in the far away heavens. Yet once a year, at winter solstice, he allows them to shine in the Eastern sky.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Also available in Te Reo Pākehā as The Seven Stars of Matariki.

Tā Daniel hākari Matariki / Beyer, Rebecca
“Starting something new is always difficult. How will Daniel fit in? Luckily for him Matariki is a time of sharing and new beginnings.” (Catalogue)

Also available in Te Reo Pākehā as Daniel’s Matariki Feast.

Matariki 2021 at your libraries!

Tēnā koutou katoa, e te whānau!

From 2 – 10 July, Wellington City Libraries is celebrating Matariki with a range of events, crafts, storytelling sessions, and experiences for whānau and tamariki all over our city. Don’t forget to also check out the Wellington City Council website to find out about the huge range of exciting activities taking place outside our libraries during Matariki.

Why do we celebrate Matariki? The star cluster Matariki (also known as the Pleiades) reappears in the dawn sky about Aotearoa in late May or early June. The new moon following the rising of Matariki signals the Māori New Year. Customarily, this was a time to remember the deceased of the past year and to plan for the new year. Today, Matariki has been revived as a celebration of people, culture, language, spirituality, and history. It is a time for whānau and friends to come together to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the year ahead. When you add your star to our purapura whetū, we invite you to send a message to someone you love, or reflect on the year that has just passed.

Some of the awesome crafty things you can find to make Matariki art with at your local library


Nau mai haere mai ki te whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! Join us for these fabulous events happening at library branches across the city:

Beginner’s Guide to Whakapapa

Join us for this short talk aimed at giving people with little to no experience researching their whakapapa some useful tips when navigating the resources accessible on the WCL website. Adults are very welcome.

  • Tuesday 6 July, 12.30pm at Te Awe Brandon St Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awe

Explore the Stars in VR

Celebrate Matariki by joining us at Te Awe Library to take turns exploring the night sky in virtual reality. The stars have never seemed quite so close to touch! This event is great for mātua, rangatahi, and tamariki alike.

  • Friday 9 July, 2.00 – 4.00pm at Te Awe Brandon St Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awe

Kōhunga Kōrero o Matariki

Nau mai haere mai ki te whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! Pakiwaitara i roto i te reo Māori. E 30 meneti pakiwaitara, rotarota, waiata hoki i roto i te reo Māori nō ngā kōhungahunga me ō rātou mātua kaitiaki. Join us for these special Matariki storytimes in te reo Māori! Featuring stories, songs and rhymes in te reo Māori, these 30-minute storytimes are open to anyone, and are recommended for children aged 2-6 years and their caregivers.

  • Friday 2 July, 10.30am at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi
  • Tuesday 6 July, 10.30am at Newtown Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Omārōrō
  • Friday 9 July, 10.30am at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi

Let’s Go LEGO®: Matariki Whetū!

Let’s build – let’s explore – let’s create! Come along to your library to create your LEGO® masterpiece. These sessions all feature special Matariki-themed activities as we celebrate this festive time with our friends and whānau. Our LEGO® activities are perfect for tamariki of all ages to participate in with their whānau.

  • Friday 2 July, 3.30pm at Khandallah Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Tari-kākā
  • Sunday 4 July, 11.00am at Te Awe Brandon St Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awe
  • Thursday 8 July, 3.30pm at Cummings Park Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Korimako
  • Friday 8 July, 3.30pm at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi

Matariki Storytimes

Come along and celebrate Matariki at your local whare pukapuka, or library, with Matariki-themed stories and waiata with our librarians. Our storytimes are family-friendly and fun for all ages. Weekday sessions are all at 10.30am; weekend sessions are all at 2.00pm.

  • Friday 2 July, 10.30am:
    • He Matapihi Molesworth Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o He Matapihi
    • Wadestown Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Ōtari
  • Saturday 3 July, 2.00pm:
    • Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi
    • Te Awe Brandon St Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awe
  • Monday 5 July, 10.30am:
    • Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Takapū o Patukawenga
    • Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awa-a-taia
  • Tuesday 6 July, 10.30am:
    • Brooklyn Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Moe-rā
    • Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Wednesday 7 July, 10.30am:
    • Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Korimako
    • Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
    • Newtown Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Omārōrō
    • Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awa-a-taia
  • Thursday 8 July, 10.30am:
    • Arapaki Manners Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Arapaki
    • Island Bay Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Tapu Te Ranga
    • Miramar Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Motu-kairangi
    • Te Awe Brandon St Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awe
  • Friday 9 July, 10.30am:
    • He Matapihi Molesworth Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o He Matapihi
    • Wadestown Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Ōtari
  • Saturday 10 July, 2.00pm:
    • Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi

Matariki Storytimes: Virtual Edition!

Whakarongo mai, tamariki mā, pākeke mā! Celebrate Matariki wherever you are with our Matariki online storytimes. He korero paki i te reo Māori ēnei; these stories are in te reo Māori. The stories will be streaming live on our Wellington City Libraries Facebook page, and will remain up for your enjoyment throughout the holidays!

  • Thursday 8 July, 7.30pm — online!
  • Friday 9 July, 7.30pm — online!
  • Saturday 10 July, 7.30pm — online!

Pakiwaitara Matariki: Bilingual Storytelling

Join us at your local whare pukapuka for these special bilingual storytimes in celebration of Matariki! Featuring stories, songs and rhymes in te reo Māori and English, these 30-minute storytimes are open to anyone, and are recommended for children aged 2-6 years and their caregivers.

  • Saturday 3 July, 2.00pm at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Saturday 10 July, 11.00am at Cummings Park Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Korimako

Puoro Matariki: Stories and Music

Come along to Johnsonville Library on the first Tuesday of each month to enjoy a half-hour mash-up of stories and music. Literary and musical worlds will collide as we introduce your budding muso (and budding reader, of course!) to a world of rhythm, rhyme, song and dance from across the globe using stories, percussion instruments, and loads of imagination. Join us on the 6th of July for this special Matariki-themed session for all ages!

  • Tuesday 6 July, 10.30am at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi

Whetū Toi: CRAFTerschool

Join us for this special after-school Matariki craft session! Make your very own Matariki constellation using one of our designs, or let your creative juices flow and create your own!

  • Monday 5 July, 3.30pm at Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Takapū o Patukawenga
  • Wednesday 7 July, 3.30pm at Miramar Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Motu-kairangi
  • Wednesday 7 July, 3.30pm at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi

Whetū Toi: CRAFTivity

Bust the indoor boredom with a free Arts & Crafts session for tamariki, rangatahi and the whole whānau on Saturday mornings from 10.30am – 11.30 at He Matapihi Molesworth Library. At this session, we’ll be exploring Matariki with a simple craft project to be enjoyed by all!

  • Saturday 3 July, 10.30am at He Matapihi Molesworth Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o He Matapihi

Nō reira, nau mai, haere mai ki ōu tātou whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i tēnēi wā tino hirahira! So come on down to your library to celebrate this special time!

Purapura Whetū: A Matariki Festival with Your Libraries

Tēnā koutou katoa, e te whānau!

This July, Wellington City Libraries is celebrating Matariki with Purapura Whetū, a special festival of events, crafts, storytelling, and reflection for whānau and tamariki all over our city.

As well as all the programmes listed below, each of our libraries will have special crafting stations set up where you can make your very own star to add to our city-wide purapura whetū; a pattern, or web of stars.

Why do we celebrate Matariki? The star cluster Matariki (also known as the Pleiades) reappears in the dawn sky about Aotearoa in late May or early June. The new moon following the rising of Matariki signals the Māori New Year. Customarily, this was a time to remember the deceased of the past year and to plan for the new year. Today, Matariki has been revived as a celebration of people, culture, language, spirituality, and history. It is a time for whānau and friends to come together to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the year ahead. When you add your star to our purapura whetū, we invite you to send a message to someone you love, or reflect on the year that has just passed.

Come down to your library to make your whetū (star) and add it to our constellation!


Nau mai haere mai ki te whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! As well as the Purapura Whetū craft activity happening at every branch, there are many other fabulous events to look out for celebrating Matariki during the school holidays:

Kōhunga Kōrero o Matariki
Nau mai haere mai ki te whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! Pakiwaitara i roto i te reo Māori. E 30 meneti pakiwaitara, rotarota, waiata hoki i roto i te reo Māori nō ngā kōhungahunga me ō rātou mātua kaitiaki. Join us for these special Matariki storytimes in te reo Māori! Featuring stories, songs and rhymes in te reo Māori, these 30-minute storytimes are open to anyone, and are recommended for children aged 2-6 years and their caregivers.

  • Friday 10 July, 10.30am at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi
  • Monday 13 July, 10.30am at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Friday 17 July, 10.30am at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi

Making Matariki Stars
Join us for this special Matariki craft session! Make your very own Matariki star using one of our designs, or let your creative juices flow and create your own! Then, we will add your star to our purapura whetū — our pattern of stars — for everyone to enjoy and admire.

  • Monday 13 July, 11.00am at Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Takapū o Patukawenga

Matariki By Torchlight
Head down to the library at twilight for this special evening of Matariki and Aotearoa-themed stories and songs under the starlight (or clouds!). Bring your own torch and come along in your PJs ready for some heart-warming bedtime stories and songs.

  • Monday 13 July, 6.00pm at Brooklyn Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Moe-rā

Matariki Music Makers: Making Taonga Whakatangitangi
Come along and celebrate Matariki by crafting music makers inspired by the porotiti, and making Matariki stars. You can take your creations home, or display them at our libraries during our #purapurawhetu Matariki festival.

  • Friday 10 July, 2.00pm at Brooklyn Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Moe-rā

Matariki Online Storytimes
Whakarongo mai, tamariki mā, pākeke mā! Celebrate Matariki wherever you are with our Matariki online storytimes. He korero paki i te reo Māori ēnei; these stories are in te reo Māori. The stories will be streaming live on our Wellington City Libraries Facebook page, and will remain up for your enjoyment throughout the holidays!

  • Saturday 4 July, 7.30pm — online!
  • Sunday 5 July, 7.30pm — online!
  • Monday 6 July, 7.30pm — online!

Matariki Storytimes
Come along and celebrate Matariki at your local whare pukapuka, or library, with Matariki-themed stories and waiata with our librarians. Then, why not try your hand at making Matariki stars at our crafting stations? There will be a range of activities available for your whānau.

  • Tuesday 7 July, 10.30am at Khandallah Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Tarikākā
  • Wednesday 8 July, 10.30am at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Monday 13 July, 10.30am at Wadestown Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Ōtari
  • Wednesday 15 July, 10.30am at Cummings Park Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Korimako

String Bean Puppets: Once in a Full Moon
Come along and celebrate Matariki at your local library with Anna Bailey and her string bean puppets! Anna’s puppets will be helping her perform the magical tale “Once in a Full Moon.” One evening, a lonely kiwi looks up in the sky and sees something remarkable… can kiwis fly after all?

  • Monday 13 July, 2.00pm at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Tuesday 14 July, 11.00am at He Matapihi Molesworth Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o He Matapihi
  • Wednesday 15 July, 2.00pm at Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awa-a-Taia
  • Friday 17 July, 2.00pm at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi

Nō reira, nau mai, haere mai ki ōu tātou whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i tēnēi wā tino hirahira! So come on down to your library to celebrate this special time!

Matariki – Māori New Year

 


Kia ora koutou,

Matariki is a time to celebrate, remember and plan. It is a time to be together and to share and learn new skills.

One way to find out more about Matariki could to to explore Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand 


Would you like to listen in Te Reo, English (or both!) to this story woven with magic, love and adventure?

The Seven Stars of Matariki / Te Huihui o Matariki by Toni Rolleston is a beautiful book to read about Matariki. It’s available in English, and te reo. Check out the videos below.

Image Courtesy of SyndeticsImage Courtesy of Syndetics

 



 


You might want to keep practising your New Zealand Sign Language AND your Te Reo! Learn some more sign by watching  19 year old Tuhoi Henry (Te Uri o Hau).


Image Courtesy of SyndeticsThen, you could borrow the book Matariki and keep improving your signing. Ka rawe!

 

 

 


Pop over to the Wellington City Libraries and explore our Tamariki section here

You will find some great tools to help you improve your Te Reo.


Ngā mihi.

Matariki, Matariki, Matariki – te tau hou o te iwi Māori e!

Tēnā koutou kātoa! Join us in celebrating Matariki at Wellington City Libraries this winter! Matariki means “tiny eyes,” or “eyes of god,” and is celebrated in June and early July when a group of stars called the Pleiades rises above the horizon. Many Māori tribes have used the rising of Matariki to mark the beginning of the new year. It’s a time of celebration and reflection, of whānau and of kōrerorero — and a time to cook and eat delicious kai! Whether you want to celebrate with others or just learn more about this wonderful festival, your library has you covered with books, resources and events for the whole family.

Many of our usual preschool storytime and Kōhunga Kōrero sessions this month will be Matariki-themed, but we’re also running special Matariki events with stories, songs and crafts for tamariki and their families at some libraries — ask your local librarian if you’d like to find out more:

Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library: Monday 18th June, 6:30pm
Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library: Wednesday 20th June, 4:00pm
Island Bay Community Centre: Thursday 21st June, 10:30am
Karori Library: Thursday 21st June, 6:30pm
Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library: Thursday 28th June, 3:30pm
Khandallah Library: Thursday 28th June, 6:30pm
Johnsonville Library: Friday 29th June, 3:30pm
 
Also, check out some of our favourite Matariki books and resources below. As always, you can check our catalogue for more!

Matariki / Holt, Sharon
“The newest book in the popular award winning Te Reo Singalong series follows a family through their Matariki celebrations over the course of a day. The family wakes at dawn to see the Matariki star cluster and the book takes the family as visitors arrive for a traditional Matariki feast. As the evening draws in, the children create their own stars using sparklers. Each Te Reo Singalong book includes a song CD, English translation, guitar chords and extension ideas. This book also includes information about Matariki.” (Catalogue)
 

Ngā whetū Matariki whānakotia / Kamo, Miriama
“Behind dusty orange hills, where the sky stretches down to the sea, theres a magical, wild, windy place called Te Mata Hapuku. Sam and Te Rerehua love to visit their Grandma and Poua at Te Mata Hapuku (aka Birdlings Flat). They like to collect agate from the stories, with a backdrop of whipping wind, flashing torchlight, and the splash of Pouas gaff in the water. But one night, Grandma notices something mysterious. Someone has stolen some stars from the sky.” (Catalogue)
 

Tawhirimātea : a song for Matariki / Pitman-Hayes, June “Singer/songwriter June Pitman-Hayes wrote this waiata for the children at the Montessori School where she was teaching music. With its delightful, lyrical melody, it warmly weaves together aspects of Māori mythology with the seasons, as a family welcomes Matariki.
A te reo Māori version by Ngaere Roberts is also included in the book and on the CD.” (Scholastic)
 

The little kiwi’s Matariki / Slade-Robinson, Nikki “The little kiwi is fast asleep in her burrow. A beam of moonlight shines right down into her burrow. She wakes, and realises it is time […] This gentle tale about celebrating Matariki, the Maori New Year, finishes with an explanation of Matariki – its origins, traditions and how it is celebrated today. The constellation is also shown, with the Maori names for each star. The text contains some simple words in Te Reo Maori alongside the English equivalent.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Come and Celebrate Matariki!

As the nights draw in and the days get shorter it’s time to snuggle up and share stories with friends and family. Step back in time and discover the myths and legends of long ago that helped shape Aotearoa. Listen to the legends of Matariki and how those stars came into being so that next time you look up at the night sky it will have a whole new meaning for you.

This is the time to celebrate the Māori New Year and we would love you to join us for a special Matariki story time. Come and write a wish on a star and hang it up for the New Year – wishes for your family, peace in the World or your best friend. What’s your wish going to be?

Star Wishes from the 19th – 30th of June at Wellington City Libraries

 

Matariki Story Times:

Tawa: 1st June 6pm

Brooklyn: 19th June at 6pm

Central: 21st June 6pm

Kilbirnie: 22nd June 6pm

Johnsonville 23rd June 6pm

Khandallah: 29th June 6pm

Keep looking at the blog for more about Matariki!

Matariki: What is it all about?

iStock_000002751348SmallMatariki, the Māori New Year, means ‘tiny eyes’ or ‘eyes of god’ and is celebrated in June when a small group of stars called Pleiades rises above the horizon, bringing the old year to a close and starting a new year.

According to myth, when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were separated by their children, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.

Various Māori tribes celebrated Matariki at different times. Some held festivities when Matariki was first seen in the dawn sky; others celebrated after the full moon rose or at the beginning of the next new moon. The full moon was celebrated in Wellington on June 6 this year, making the start of Matariki.

iStock_000008775653_SmallMatariki is celebrated for the rest of month, and different tribes and Iwi celebrate the New Year in a variety of different ways. Traditionally, Matariki was a time to finish storing food for the winter, weave new clothing and baskets, listen to the stories of our ancestors, and learn about the natural world.

Nowadays, New Zealanders are more likely to get together with family and friends, talk about Māori myths and culture, look at the stars through telescopes, and watch kapa haka performances.

If you want to learn more about Matariki, head on over to our catalogue, or check out the Kiwi Families website for heaps of cool ideas and craft activities.

You can find out about Matariki events in Wellington at the Matariki Wellington website.