5 fresh ways to celebrate Matariki with your family

fresh ways to celebrate Matariki

Have you been wondering how you can celebrate Matariki the Maori New Year at your place. Here’s 5 fresh ways to celebrate Matariki with your family.

Matariki begins to rise in the last few days of May, and this symbolises the coming of the Maori New Year. Some iwi, or tribes, start celebrations when Matariki is first seen, however it is the first new moon after Matariki that officially signals the Maori New Year.

Some people celebrate the New Year on the day the new moon rises, and others celebrate on the day after the new moon. Celebrations can last up to 3 days.

Traditionally celebrations revolved around the previous year’s harvest, as well as planting for the new year. And celebrations included games, story-telling, singing and dancing, as well as kite flying.

More recently, Matariki has been celebrated in New Zealand with cultural arts and performances, shows and puppetry, and even New Years-esque fireworks displays.

If you’re interested in celebrating this mid-winter ‘New Year’ with your family, here’s 10 fresh ideas you could consider.

5 fresh ways to celebrate Matariki with your family

1. Fire-safe sky lanterns

Sky¬†lanterns have deservedly come under fire (excuse the pun) of late. They have become more common place all over the world in celebrating different events. But, although they do look beautiful, they’re also very dangerous. If they catch on fire, and land in dry scrub, or even in someone’s backyard, they can easily start a major fire.

Why not make your own? In fact, making them is all part of the process.

Just use short lengths of thin bamboo, bend them into circles, and tape the ends. Use 2 longer ones for the outside of the circle, and 6 slightly shorter lengths for the inside circles. Then tape them all together in a globe shape to strengthen.

Now make up a papier mache paste, and papier mache strips of waxy paper all around the outside of your bamboo frame. Leave a small hole in one end.

Now tie your lantern to a long stick, and insert a tealight candle inside to ‘light’ it up! If you’re really creative, why not make star-shaped lanterns.

Matariki-sky lanterns

Courtesy: Just So Festival

2. Puppet show

Children and adults alike just love a good puppet show. You could always take your kid to see a show in your local area. But why not put on one at home?

The actual Matariki story is ripe for retelling, and a great mythological story to teach your children.

You could easily spend a couple of days working on puppets and backdrops with your kids, and another day practising the puppet show. Why not invite some close family and friends around to watch?

Try out our marionette puppet, it could be perfect for this purpose.

reindeer_marionette

3. Storytelling, songs and poetry

Why not go out on a limb and organise a storytelling/singing/poetry/ukelele evening?

Set up a Facebook event, and invite a set of close friends and family you think would be confident enough to get involved. And then make sure everyone brings some sort of entertainment to the party. You could break up the more formal parts with music and mulled wine.

Courtesy: VideoBlocks

Courtesy: VideoBlocks

What a wonderful way to celebrate the Maori New Year. This idea could become a feature in your annual calendar.

And don’t forget to include the kids in this idea too. Children are super creative, as long as you make it safe for them, give them a chance to practise before the guests arrive, and keep it simple, they’ll definitely give it a go.

4. Host a harvest party

Matariki-harvest party

Courtesy: Quora

Traditionally Matariki falls between the previous year’s harvest and the next one. And that means the larder (or perhaps that should be the¬†pńĀtaka) is full to overflowing.

So why not combine that Kiwi party classic, the bring-a-plate potluck, with the celebration of Matariki?

Nothing warms the winter soul quite like great food, shared amongst even greater friends. You could always get a large pot of mulled wine on the stove to further warm the cockles.

Keep this sort of evening intimate, with soft lighting, and soft music in the background. Have people sit around in a large circle so that everyone can see each other, and then let the storytelling commence over shared plates of food. This sort of harvest party should leave people feeling like they belong to a really close-knit community.

You want your guests to turn around to you at the door just as they leave, and look in you in the eye, and just go, ‘ahhhh, thank you, I really needed that.’

5. Make it your actual New Year’s party

Take a leaf out of Wellington City Council‘s book, and make this time of year your actual New Year.

Matariki guy fawkes

Courtesy: Wellington City Council

Forget Guy Fawkes, that’s a British institution, and forget New Year’s Eve that’s so 2017!

Why not organise amongst your usual rabble of revellers to switch their New Year’s knees up to mid-winter. It’s cold outside, possibly snowing, we’re all in hibernation mode, and just want to curl up with a glass of wine, and something good on Netflix. What better time of year to get people together in a warm room, with good music and lots of New Years-esque singing, dancing and kissing…

If you still feel the need to sing Auld Lang Syne, then so be it. But let’s face it, no one actually knows the words to that song! Why not rock out the New Zealand national anthem on the strike of midnight instead?

That’s our 5 fresh ideas for celebrating Matariki New Year at your place. For more ideas on events happening in your region, and food and crafts you can make with your family, check out our Matariki page.

 

Jarrod Rendle

Jarrod is a quintessential Kiwi Dad. He lives in Pukerua Bay, and works from home in an office that overlooks the sea. His inspiration and motivation in life come from his wife and two children.

Join 27,257 families and growing

As we build a strong community of like minds:

  • Get the best tips from the best experts
  • Recipes, parties, crafts and activities
  • Special offers, competitions and more...

Sit back and relax and let us deliver to your inbox.

Categorised: Uncategorized

You might also be interested in:

Matariki the Maori New Year – 2018

Matariki the Maori New Year, is rich with tradition. Discover the importance of Matariki, and explore ways that you can…

7 Marvellous Matariki crafts for kids

Matariki is a small group of stars – the constellation Pleiades – that reappear in the sky in winter (in…

Matariki events and activities around New Zealand – 2018

Every year towns and cities throughout New Zealand host a range of events and activities based around Matariki. These range…

Matariki water paint and glitter art

Matariki is a great time of year to celebrate and learn more about Maori culture. One way we’re doing this…

Welcome to Kiwi Families

We bring 27,257 families together to learn from each other.

Join a community raising great kids: