Participate in other Wellington Events
The WCET would like to invite you to be part of the pilot Food & Hospitality Programme for Te Whanganui-a-Tara celebrating Matariki for 2019, in partnership with the Wellington City Council (WCC) and representatives of Te Āti Awa/Taranaki Whānui, Ngāti Toa and Te Papa
Matariki 2019 activities will take place in Wellington from Friday 21 June until Sunday 07 July including the Wellington Sky Show on the middle weekend at Saturday 29 June.
The Matariki Tikanga (etiquette/meaning/protocol)
Matariki is the beginning of the New Year. A celebration of the year that has past and farewell of the old. It’s also a time to acknowledge the new year and looking to the year that is to come. It is about the rebirth, the beginning of the planting season for vegetables. It’s New Year and Christmas rolled in to one, as it is a mid-winter celebration with family and food as we prepare for spring. It is a chance to eat and tell stories.
The Matariki Food Kaupapa
It’s great to include local and native ingredients, however the importance and Kaupapa of Matariki is much more than that. Matariki is about shedding light in the darkness. Matariki occured at the end of the harvest season. It was a time when storage houses (pātaka kai) were filled with food, and the land was at its most unproductive. The cultivated kūmara (sweet potato) had been gathered and stored in specially prepared pits to ensure a year round supply. Matariki was a time for bountiful catches, with the migration of fish like the moki and korokoro. Seafood and birds were the primary sources of protein. There were no land mammals in New Zealand until Pakeha introduced cattle. Chicken (or other legally edible birds) will have to be your perfectly acceptable replacement for Kererū however! Kererū, having feasted on native berries, were snared and preserved in fat during Matariki. This practice gave rise to the proverb ‘Ka kitea a Matariki, ka maoka te hinu’ (When Matariki is seen the fat is cooked).
Seeds, shoots, baby vegetables - all signify planting and new growth. Matariki is a time to prepare the māramāra garden and ensure that winter frosts will help to kill any weeds or soil infections. Matariki was a time to prepare the whenua (land) in anticipation of Spring and to plant certain vegetables to appease the land based gods Rongo, Uenuku and Whiro. During this time the forest was a primary food resource for Māori, replete with birds, the fruit of native trees, bracken roots, pikopiko (fern fronds) and the native kiore (rat). Visitors were often showered with gifts, especially preserved tuna (eel), birds and other delicacies. The sharing of kai (food) was very important and showed great hospitality and respect to visitors. Conservation and respect for the environment are strong themes for the celebration of Matariki. Giving thanks for land and waters that have provided sustenance is important, and we are reminded also to respect and protect nature so that future generations may enjoy the same quality of life we cherish.
Matariki is a time of reflection, preparation, learning, and celebration.