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Matariki meal brings community together


11 July, 2022


thumbnail 13 MF-TeWhaiMata1-757Wild, wet weather threatening to lash Northland did nothing to dampen local desire and enthusiasm for the country’s brand new public holiday, with hundreds heading to a nearby venue to ‘Manawatia a Matariki’; ‘to celebrate and to wish everyone a happy Maori New Year’.

Local social advocacy organisation Te Whai Community Trust’s ‘Matariki ki Mangawhai’ attracted – and fed – around 300 people on June 24 at the Trust’s new hub on Moir Street by the Domain, the crowd enjoying musical performances, craft activities, Ti Rakau (stick games) and weaving workshops, face painting, a mural challenge, star-gazing and feasting with picnics and hangi.

Te Whai’s project manager Kiri Eriwata says ‘the celebrations weren’t quelled by a couple of rain showers’.

“Bringing in the Maori New Year at Te Whai Community House was a beautiful thing, so much has come out of it, binding friendships and community, and that is what we’re most happy about,” she says. “It was a spectacular event… thank you to all of you that joined us to make this possible.”

The zero-waste celebration showcased toi Maori, art, music and kai, and coincided with Te Wiki Tuao a-Motu, National Volunteer Week. Many helping hands were involved in the event, chopping wood and digging the hangi pit, prepping food and hanging decorations, some performed kapa haka for the first time while others welcomed visitors and ‘cleaned up with gorgeous smiles on their faces’ Kiri says.

“The hangi was delicious and a highlight was Aliyah Connelly-Richards performing a dance and the korero from nga kaumatua at the end of the day,” she says. “Josh Leys did a great job entertaining the crowd and we gave away some fun prizes to those that had knowledge of Matariki which incidentally was mainly the tamariki! It’s good to know the future of Matariki is in good hands with our little ones growing up celebrating Matariki this way. Manawatia a Matariki!”

See more photos at facebook.com/TeWhaiCommunityTrustMangawhai


n Te Whai would like to thank the Northland Regional Events Fund for supporting the event, Four Square Mangawhai Heads, Mangawhai Meat Shop, Mangawhai Community Garden, Mangawhai Firewood, Mangawhai Honey, Nga Whetu Creations, FacePainting Northland, Harakeke Basketry, Hire Works Mangawhai, Sustainable Kaipara, Wild Spirit Wedding Photography, Resene, Brian Came Photography, students from Kaiwaka Primary School, Mangawhai Beach School and Mangawhai Nature School, ‘our amazing staff and board of trustees’ and numerous individuals for their time and energy.


Many helping hands were involved in the success of the day, from digging the hangi pit to serving food ‘with gorgeous smiles on their faces’ said Te Whai’s project manager Kiri Eriwata. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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