Matariki Shines Brighter than Ever at Active Explorers Hokitika

Matariki is a time of great anticipation and excitement at Active Explorers Hokitika. Each year, the centre hosts a special Matariki evening, where staff, tamariki and whanau share kai, tell stories, sing songs, plant trees and learn all about the meaning of Maori New Year.

This year marked the centre’s biggest celebration yet, with a huge turnout of 152 people!

“The evening was so special,” says centre manager Stacey Brock.

“Our eldest child William planted our feijoa tree, witnessed by all our families. The children then performed their waiata and we shared our favourite Matariki books. Karakia was performed by our brave tamariki, followed by an amazing feast of shared kai.”

But it’s not just the event itself that the children love.

“The build up starts about six weeks before! Children spent time revisiting photos and stories from our previous year’s event and then they take the lead to practice their kapa haka songs for their concert.”

The learning opportunities are vast.

“We share stories and songs and learn all about Matariki. Children are involved in creating Matariki provocation areas that empower them to explore Maori New Year and discover all the exciting things about this celebration. So many discussions are had in the lead up to Matariki about the special people we will bring, what type of food we’ll eat, what songs we’ll sing, what tree will be planted, and even what we will wear to the celebration.

“Matariki brings a strong sense of community to our centre, as whanau donate kai and come into the centre to help prepare the meal.”

It’s little wonder then that Matariki celebrations have become such a special event on the Active Explorers Hokitika calendar.

“It’s looked forward to by many. In fact, our children are already asking when we will be having our next Matariki party!”