The invitation was extended and the community responded positively when Ngāti Hinerangi opened its Matariki celebrations to the Matamata community on Tuesday morning. The fires were stoked and the crowd of about 70 were well-positioned to hear the iwi’s interpretation of Matariki and the meaning behind what was described to be a modernised version of a Hautapu ceremony aimed to help share the experience and mātauranga (knowledge) with those new to the process.
Tuesday’s ceremony involved introducing each star of the Matariki cluster and placing on a fire a sacrificial offering pertaining to each star. These included a kumara for Tupuānuku, the star of food grown in the ground, a chicken for Tupuārangi, the star of food grown above, a fish for Waitā, the star of salt water and an eel for Waitī, the star of fresh water.
What is cooked on the fire lets off steam and it is that steam that drifts up to the stars as appreciation for the past year and hopes for a prosperous year ahead.
Te Puāwaitanga o Ngāti Hinerangi Iwi Trust Interim Chief Executive Hinerangi Vaimoso, says this year’s celebration was an opportunity to show gratitude to whānau and community for their support but to also help increase cultural competence and responsiveness in our town.
“The strong support from all corners of our community on Tuesday really spoke volumes to us and proved to us that we are moving closer to having a community where Māori is not only normal but celebrated. Movement like this gives us hope for such a bright future for all who live in Matamata,” she says.