Independent residents Paneta & Neryl Semu from Keith Park Retirement Village in Hobsonville, Auckland, have won Ryman Healthcare’s inaugural Matariki lights competition.
Their installation, which was designed and made by Paneta himself, depicts his own family story about what Matariki means to him.
- Graced with great art
- Helping maintain a lifetime of history
“My art represents my ancestors and their journey from distant shores to New Zealand. They came from Samoa, England, Ireland, Denmark and Germany. In my display, the waves carrying the ship are our six children and the Matariki cluster is a representation of our 18 grandchildren.”
The winning artwork by Paneta and Neryl Semu - Around the World: A Cluster of Stars, a Cluster of stories.
The runners-up in the competition were Christine Schofield from Bruce McLaren, Richard Ward from Edmund Hillary, Greg Rhodes and Noeline Moir from Kevin Hickman, Jane Reesby from Anthony Wilding, Alison MacKay from Kiri Te Kanawa and another couple from Keith Park, Bob and Helen Lane.
From left to right: Alison Mckay - Kiri Te Kanawa Village, Christine Schofield - Bruce McLaren Village, Robert Lane - Keith Park Village.
The winners were selected by various Ryman team members, who chose them for their gorgeous artwork and accompanying stories, representing Matariki through the travels of their ancestors and the future generations of their family.
The winners are set to receive ‘The One Posh Box’ gift hamper and a book on Matariki, while the runners up receive a ‘Kiwi Kai Gift Basket’ and a book on Matariki.
From left to right: Greg Rhodes & Noeline Moir - Kevin Hickman Village, Jane Reesby - Anthony Wilding Village, Richard Ward - Edmund Hillary Village.
It was a surprise win for Paneta and Neryl.
“We are just so excited to have won,” says Paneta
“It has been a real fun journey learning about Matariki and what it means for Māori and the people of New Zealand.”
This year is the first time New Zealand will celebrate Matariki as a designated public holiday.
Its appearance in midwinter signals the Māori New Year/ Te Mātahi o te Tau. Although the exact date changes, it usually rises in June or July for a three-week period.
Historically, the stars of Matariki were also closely tied to planting, harvesting and hunting. If the stars appeared clear and bright, it signified an abundant season ahead.
The Matariki cluster of stars was also used by early settlers to navigate to New Zealand.