Te Waari Carkeek: Matariki is good for the soul

Over 60 Matariki Wellington events will take place across the region from 13 June to 12 July

New Zealand Post Kapa Haka

Rātana Pakeke, Rātana Pakeke Photographer: Norm Heke. Producer: Te Papa

Matariki is a truly Aotearoa New Zealand celebration. It celebrates Aotearoa’s own cycles of nature, tied to the southern hemisphere’s seasons and stars, and marks the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. Matariki also means winter, and winter is good for the soul.

In winter, the soil goes to sleep, the frost is on the ground, and the earth is massaged by the repetition of frost, defrost, frost. Winter time is when the body slows down and takes a rest. If you’re in Wellington, winters make you hardy – you’ve got southerlies ripping through and it’s cold outside, but that makes people stronger inside.

The theme of this year’s festival, He rau tangata, he kōingo aroha (people gather together and affirm love in a myriad of ways), gives us an opportunity to reflect on love and the many ways it can be expressed – including through dance, art, songs, ditties, and music.

It also allows us to reflect on the centenary of World War I, Gallipoli in particular, and to remember the many members of our iwi (tribes) who were affected by the war. During Matariki, we gather together to think about the love of our people in times of adversity and how it was expressed and affirmed.

I’m looking forward to contributing to the festival and the entertainment, especially the Kaumātua Kapa Haka – senior Māori performance artists.

Come and see the New Zealand Post Kaumātua Kapa Haka

Photo of Te Waari Carkeek

Te Waari Carkeek, Ngāti Toa Rangatira kaumātua (elder) at Te Papa. Photograph by Michael Hall. Te Papa

Matariki is a unique opportunity to express yourself the way you want to. You can mark the occasion by having a long walk by the sea, or you can enjoy a concert. The point is to do something with your friends and family.

View Te Papa’s Matariki events

By Te Waari Carkeek, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, kaumātua at Te Papa.

One Response

  1. adele

    I wrote up about Stephen Carkeek buried at Featherston Cemetery some years back, what an interesting person, then phone calls saying not buried at Featherston, I said its a child with the same name buried at Bolton Street thanks, and he is at Featherston as the headstone although broken, is on the plot… so Te Waari Carkeek is a descendant.


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