Photo by Giorgia Doglioni.
Matariki Magic – 5 Experiences to Embrace the Spirit of the Holiday
Friday 24 June, Matariki will be a public holiday for the first time ever -it’s fantastic that the significance of this important cultural holiday is getting official recognition! Getting a public holiday is good, but what’s even better is the chance to embrace and understand the special cultural values that this day brings to the fore, values that are central to Māori culture which we can all be inspired by.
The values of Matariki are to:
- Honour and remember our loved ones who we’ve lost since the last Matariki,
- Gather and celebrate together the blessings of the present, and to
- Look forward and move into the future with a positive open mind.
Experiencing Māori culture and celebrating the day the way Māori generations past have will help us embrace the true meaning of Matariki – and understand and appreciate the holiday more.
So Make your first official Public Holiday Matariki a meaningful one! Read about these top tier experiences that’ll make your first official Matariki a magical one to remember forever.
Kupe was the first Polynesian to discover the islands of New Zealand, and an important forefather of Te Ao Māori. The footprints of Kupe experience involves: a special pōwhiri, a state-of-the-art 4D-digital movie with live performances, a guided tour of the Hokianga harbour. Guests are immersed in a full sensory recreation of the rich and vibrant world of the intrepid adventures of Kupe. The Kupe interactive gallery and symbolic Māori sculptures will also teach and inspire. This experience has been developed with respect and care by local Kaumātua (senior tribal Elders) as a way to preserve their heritage, and to share it with the world.
The geothermal wonderland that is Te Puia becomes even magical when you’re guided by one of Te Puia’s Kaiarahi (guides), who weave generations of cultural narratives and stories into the tour. The trip includes access to the Kiwi Conservation Centre, and to the NZ Māori Arts and Crafts Institute – where you can see Māori master carvers continuing-on the art and skill of their ancestors. To top it off, you’ll be treated to a delicious Hāngī prepared in steam boxes using the natural geothermal powers. Come for the natural wonders of the Pōhutu Geyser, jumping mud pools, silica terraces, and cobalt blue lake; and stay for the enriching Māori cultural insight.
What would Matariki be without some star-gazing? ‘Under The Stars’ is a certified International Dark Sky Reserve, and it’s the sole award-winning nomadic astronomy tour! The stars shine extra bright here so you can see the full-effect and majesty of the cosmos. Tie this experience into Matariki and try to locate the nine stars of as generations of Māori have done before. There’s even a version of Stonehenge to see, which ok isn’t tied into Matariki, but still it’s still very cool to see!
Meanwhile in Te Waipounamu (the South Island), there’s another great place to wonder and marvel at the stars, at the ‘Dark Sky Experience’ in Tekapo. Featuring Cowan’s private Observatory situated in a purpose-built crater, the expert astronomy guides will enhance your knowledge and understanding of our Southern Skies with powerful optical telescopes. Look at the stars up close with awe just like generations of Te Ao Māori have. The perfect blend of myth and science – and a great experience for all the family.
Have you seen the incredible Māori rock carvings on Lake Taupō’s Mine Bay yet? Matariki is a great time to see them for the first time! Best seen from the waters of the lake, this eco-friendly yacht tour will take you there while adhering to the Māori value of kaitiakitanga – guardianship and protection. The silent electric engine and motor ensures that you enjoy this magnificent work of Māori art that doesn’t disturb the treasured local natural environment. You’ll also learn about the history of the area, and even the basics of sailing if you like! Otherwise just sit back, relax, and be inspired.
With Chuffed, you can gift these experiences to someone special – you pick the package, and Chuffed will courier a tube and ticket to your friends or loved ones, and they can choose which experience they’d like to do. They can choose any of these five experiences to do, or one of many options in their package, they get to choose. As a special occasion, you can even get one for your own family, and enjoy selecting an experience together as a family activity! However you choose to commemorate Matariki this year remember to: reminisce about loved ones passed, give thanks for your current blessings, and move into the future with a positive mindset. That way you’ll be embracing the true spirit of Matariki.