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Celebrate Matariki

June 27, 2024


Celebrate Matariki ~ Manawatia ā Matariki

New Zealand's newest public holiday is this weekend and you might wonder how to celebrate it. Named after a star cluster that appears in mid-winter, Matariki is all about reflection, connection, and looking forward. So, how can you make the most of this occasion?  


Ryman team member Leisa Aumua shares five meaningful ways to create your own traditions during this significant and unique public holiday.  


  1. Enjoy a feast 

Picture a table laden with delicious food, surrounded by your favourite people. That’s the heart of Matariki celebrations. Whether you're cooking up a storm with traditional Māori dishes or putting your own spin on things, it's all about coming together, sharing stories and indulging. Joy, a resident at Ryman’s Murray Halberg Village, embraces this with her unique take on the classic Hāngi. Her version is prepared in the oven and features juicy pork, tender beef, and a medley of vegetables, generously accompanied by gravy. It’s become so popular in the village that even the gardening staff have started requesting it. Check out Joy's oven-baked Hāngi recipe here.   


Residents at Kiri Te Kanawa Village in Gisborne also celebrated Matariki by coming together to enjoy a feast specially prepared by the village chef that was a treat for the eyes and the tastebuds (below).




  1. Rest, reflect and reset  

Grab a cuppa, find a cosy spot, and take a moment to reflect. Matariki holds special significance in Māori culture as a time to pause, recharge and set goals for the future. Ask yourself what you’re grateful for. What do you hope to achieve in the coming year? Plus, if you've got a green thumb, why not start planning your dream garden for spring 


If gardening’s not for you, there are plenty of other ways to recharge in nature. This could be as simple as taking notice of the changing seasons, going for a bush walk, or finding a way to support our natural environment. 


  1. Join the festivities 

Explore the Matariki events in your community. Many towns and cities host special gatherings, including art exhibitions, cultural performances, and workshops. It's a chance to learn more about Māori culture, meet new people, and have some fun.  


If you don’t find any events that interest you, why not organise your own? Over at Ryman’s Margaret Stoddart Village, a group of residents love getting together to sing their favourite Māori songs – it’s a celebration that’s unique to them.  



Get crafty

Channel your creativity into Matariki-inspired crafts. Whether you’re crafting a tin lantern, weaving Matariki stars or painting a starry landscape; there are countless ways to express yourself and celebrate Matariki through art. It’s a great activity to do with your grandchildren or while catching up with friends.  


Here’s some creative ideas if you’re looking for inspiration: 

  1. Stargazing  

Bundle up in your winter woollies and head outside to look at the night sky. Can you spot the Matariki star cluster twinkling above? For the best view, head to a north-east facing beach before dawn on a clear morning. Better still, if you like to travel, consider visiting one of New Zealand's best spots for stargazing during Matariki. If you’re not sure how to spot the Matariki cluster, here’s a helpful video.   


Matariki is a time for us to come together and celebrate our shared heritage. Whether you're enjoying a potluck with friends, attending a local event, or crafting up a storm - how will you be celebrating Matariki?