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Media release —

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Rangiānehu Mātāmua (Ngāi Tūhoe) as Chief Advisor – Mātauranga Matariki, operating through Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have done to support Matariki, our first public holiday that distinctly recognises Te Ao Māori, through the new public holiday and welcome the appointment of Professor Mātāmua as Chief Advisor – Mātauranga Matariki” Kiri Allan said.

“Serving as a key adviser of the first public holiday based on our recognising and celebrating indigenous mātauranga, Professor Mātāmua brings with him significant experience and specialised mātauranga as one of the leading Matariki experts in Aotearoa.

“As our national advocate and spokesperson for Matariki, Professor Mātāmua will continue to support an appropriate understanding of the knowledge base from which Matariki is derived – embedding the public holiday, with its own unique identity with distinctive traditions, into our nation’s culture.

“As the Government’s primary advisor on mātauranga Matariki, Professor Mātāmua will provide direction about how we best support iwi and communities across the motu to regenerate and celebrate their mātauranga relating to Matariki – including as a part of Te Rā Aro ki a Matariki/Matariki Observance Day.

Holding a PhD in Māori studies, Professor Mātāmua is a professor at Te Kunenga Ki Purehuroa Massey University’s Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, School of Māori Knowledge. His breadth of research encompasses Māori astronomy and star lore, Māori culture, and Māori language development, research, and revitalisation – much of this derived from his many tribal ancestors of Tūhoe.

“This year’s establishment and inaugural observance of the Matariki public holiday on 24 June was a historic moment for our island nation.

“As the former Chair of the Matariki Advisory Group, Professor Mātāmua was instrumental in establishing when, why and how Matariki should celebrated, ensuring our observance of Matariki was underpinned by traditional Māori principles and values.

“Professor Mātāmua’s vast experiences will stand him in great stead in his role of safeguarding and strengthening our knowledge around Matariki. The rewards sown from the establishment of the Chief Advisor – Mātauranga Māori role, will greatly benefit future generations to come in celebrating what is, a uniquely Aotearoa New Zealand holiday,” Kiri Allan said.

“It is an incredible honour to be formally appointed into a role that recognises the importance of working with Māori to celebrate and regenerate mātauranga Matariki through our new Public Holiday,” said Professor Mātāmua.

“It was truly extraordinary to witness whānau and communities across Aotearoa come together to, for the first time, officially observe the nine stars in the dawn sky. Building upon the foundation and legacy of the Matariki Advisory Group, I will continue this work to ensure Matariki remains a momentous occasion for iwi Māori, kaupapa communities and all New Zealanders.”