New Zealanders To Celebrate Maori New Year In July

New Zealanders To Celebrate Maori New Year In July

WELLINGTON, May 11 (NNN-XINHUA) – New Zealand will celebrate Maori New Year on July 14 this year, and mark its newest public holiday for the second time, after last year’s inaugural celebration as a statutory holiday.

Celebrations leading up to Matariki began today, as a booklet containing karakia (Maori prayer) for each of the nine stars of Matariki was launched at an event at the Dark Sky Sanctuary in Lake Tekapo of New Zealand’s South Island.

Matariki is a special occasion in the New Zealand calendar, which marks the start of the Maori New Year, signified by the Matariki cluster of stars reappearing in the night sky.

The booklet will be distributed widely across the country, to schools and communities to serve as an important resource that would support people with their own preparations as they decided how to mark Matariki, said Minister of Maori Crown Relations, Kelvin Davis.

Matariki was marked for the first time as an official public holiday last year.

“It was a beautiful moment to see how the nation took joy in celebrating and embracing Matariki last year,” Davis said.

Data suggests at least 87 percent of New Zealanders now have some understanding of what Matariki is about and means, he said.– NNN-XINHUA

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