More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Matariki dinner with Aotearoa Minister

Friday 14 July 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Features, Food, Local, National, Weekend


Matariki dinner with Aotearoa Minister
Aotearoa New Zealand Minister for Māori Development, Broadcasting and Media, Willie Jackson celebrates Matariki Day hosted by the Aotearoa Society. He is pictured with Jaewynn McKay and Derek Fox. MELINA ETCHES/23071305

The Aotearoa Society celebrated Matariki, the beginning of Aotearoa New Zealand’s new year in the Māori lunar calendar with the presence of Minister for Māori Development, Broadcasting and Media Willie Jackson.

More than 70 people attended the Matariki Kiwiana Dinner which featured a special menu of Māori and Kiwi delicacies on Wednesday evening at Coastal Kitchen.

In Māori culture, Matariki is the Pleiades star cluster and a celebration of its first rising in late June or early July. Aotearoa celebrated  Matariki as a public holiday for the first time last year.

Minister Jackson has come across from Aotearoa to support Matariki and meet with Government officials.

His first visit to Rarotonga was back in 1992 with a rugby team, when he also met former Prime Minister the late Sir Geoffrey Henry.

During his remarks, Jackson reflected on the unique relationship between the two countries and the shared heritage as respective iwi Māori .

Jackson said Matariki is about a national New Zealand identity that everyone can tap into.

He noted the Labour Government, in particular their former leader Jacinda Arden.

“I was very proud of the way she drove the Matariki .. I  didn’t know whether it was going to go down a couple of years ago, I thought there might be too much of a push against it but our young ones embraced it and now our whole country’s embraced it,” he said.

Jackson revealed that throughout his years as Minister he never  thought initiatives like Matariki would get through with a main stream government.

“I have seen changes in the six years that I have been Minister that I never though I would see in my lifetime,” said Jackson.

He presented a stunning fish hook sculpture to the hosts of the evening to Jaewynn McKay, and Derek Fox - a New Zealand broadcaster, commentator, publisher, journalist and Māori Party candidate in several elections.

Jackson is also the Associate Minister for ACC, Housing (Māori Housing), and Social Development and Employment (Māori Employment).

This week, Matariki Korikori, the name given to a cluster of Matariki events, is being hosted throughout the week by the New Zealand High Commissioner to the Cook Islands, Tui Dewes.

The purpose of Matariki Korikori is to highlight the special relationship that exists between Aotearoa and the Cook Islands.

Events which have been happening include: the Matariki Taurima Kiriata or Matariki Film Festival, school workshops, a concert and the opportunity to learn from a Māori astrophysicist Dr Pauline Harris on the Matariki constellation.

The New Zealand High Commission, in partnership with the New Zealand Film Commission, is screening free films at the Empire Cinema until 15 July.

Resident film makers, Hamish Bennett and Glenda Tuaine, join us last night for the premiere screenings of their respective films, Bellbird and Taonga

Apii Nikao and Apii Nukutere joined the special matinée screening of Whale Rider.

Tereora College, Apii Takitumu, Te Uki Ou and Nukutere College also attended another screening of Whale Rider where Minister Jackson addressed the student.

Matariki Korikori is a cluster of events the High Commission is hosting to highlight and strengthen our hononga Māori, through kapa haka, korero, kai, kiriata and a konohete.

Tonight the Matariki Korikori reception and premier screening of Whetu Marama: Bright Star will be held.