Matariki focusses on the Pleiades star cluster: called the seven sisters by the Greeks, carved on monuments in Egypt and used as the Subaru motor company logo in Japan

Matariki’s stars to shine

by Andy Bryenton

As the ‘seven sisters’ of the Pleiades star cluster rise over the horizon in Winter, it’s time once again to celebrate the season of Matariki.

Dedicated in ancient times to the start of the new year on the Maori calendar, this holiday is akin to traditions spanning cultures as varied as the Druidic lore of the old European tribes and the star calendars of the Meso-American temple builders.

However, this holiday is truly unique to New Zealand, and, at least in Dargaville, it’s a chance for some other stars to shine as well. That’s because a tradition has been building year by year that Matriki is a time for the creative arts, a symbolic rebirth, that has come to full fruition for 2019.

On Saturday, July 6, the area around Dargaville’s riverside band rotunda will be transformed into an outdoor market with tasty street food, and a venue for music, fire dancing and more. It all kicks off with a festival of kapa haka from 11am at the town hall, followed by storytelling, kite making, music and a kumara cuisine contest by the band rotunda from 3pm.

Circus Kumarani will be in attendance to entertain, and as night falls, they will light up the stage with an interactive fire spinning show.

This part of the day has all kinds of neat activities for the kids and is 100 per cent whanau friendly.

From 7.30pm the action moves just across the road with live music rocking at the Central Hotel until late into the evening. All in all, it’s a massive day of food, fun, family and festivities, as Dargaville celebrates the uniquely Kiwi holiday of Matariki, turning the seasons toward the onset of spring in style!