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Media release —

Te Rā Aro ki a Matariki, the first distinctly New Zealand public holiday, has dawned across Aotearoa for the second year, with communities across the motu taking part in the celebrations.

“While many of us already have Matariki traditions, last year was the first time we celebrated Te Rā Aro ki a Matariki, the Matariki public holiday as a nation,” said Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae, Tumu Whakarae Chief Executive, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. “It is heartening to see how people of all backgrounds have embraced Matariki and got involved with their local communities this time around.

“The theme for Matariki 2023 is Matariki kāinga hokia or Matariki calls you home, but this year Matariki called our Manatū Taonga team to the beautiful slopes of Mt Ngongotahā to welcome the rising of the Matariki cluster, alongside representatives from central and local Government, Ngāti Whakaue and our community,” said Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae.

In partnership with Ngāti Whakaue, the Matariki Hautapu Ceremony was broadcast from the peak of Mt Ngongotahā this morning.

“Traditional Hautapu Ceremonies are a key component of Matariki celebrations, and this year we were incredibly fortunate to be hosted by Ngāti Whakaue. The pre-dawn ceremony began with a remembrance of those who have passed, followed by the cooking of kai to honour and feed the newly-risen stars. Tohunga shared their aspirations for the year ahead, and we joined together to share kai as a community.”

The ceremony was broadcast nationwide across TVNZ 1, TVNZ+, Three, Prime, Whakaata Māori, Pasifika TV, Radio New Zealand, Stuff and

“I encourage people to watch the ceremony online, especially if you’re looking for a place to begin your Matariki traditions,” said Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae.

“Matariki is a period, not a day,” said Dr Rangi Mātāmua, Chief Adviser Mātauranga Matariki.  “Whether you have already acknowledged the raising of Puanga, attended a hautapu ceremony this morning or are still planning how you will observe Matariki, I invite you all to connect with the true meaning of Matariki.

“Matariki is not dictated by how we celebrate it, but by why we do. It is about remembering the past, celebrating the present and looking to the future. This can happen at the top of a maunga, at one of the many incredible events hosted by communities throughout the country, in your living room with your whānau or by yourself, under the stars.

“Traditions don’t just happen. They need commitment and participation to thrive. I am thrilled that people from across Aotearoa are showing so much enthusiasm towards nurturing Matariki and ensuring that it is a tradition we build on together and can all be proud of.

“Matariki is an exciting time for us as a nation, as we continue to acknowledge and celebrate our uniquely Aotearoa New Zealand indigeneity as a core part of who we are.

“As we all look forward into the new year together, know that wherever you are in the world, Matariki will always call you home,” said Dr Rangi Mātāmua.