Matariki: a time to share your aspirations for the coming year

Matariki: a time to share your aspirations for the coming year

Our exhibition experience Mānawatia a Matariki is a celebration of the Matariki public holiday, created under the guidance of Dr Rangi Mātāmua.

Through interactives our manuhiri learn about and experience the three main principles of Matariki – remembering those who have passed since the last rising of Matariki, celebrating the present with whānau and friends, and looking to the future by making and sharing aspirations for the coming year.

Mānawatia a Matariki was launched last year for the first public holiday. Here, Exhibition Experience Developer Murphy Peoples shares insights into the pledges and aspirations shared in 2022.

Four people in black sitting around a small table writing on A6 sized white paper. Behind them is glowing white wall with the words 'Matariki manako nui/ Wish upon Matariki'
Writing aspirations for the New Year in the Mānawatia a Matariki experience at Te Papa. Photo by Tia Nepia Su‘a. Te Papa

When you wish upon Hiwa-i-te-rangi

When you share your aspirations at the time of the rising of the Matariki star cluster (marking the New Year here in Aotearoa New Zealand), it is to the youngest tamariki of Matariki, the whetū Hiwa-i-te-rangi, that you make this wish to. But your wish won’t just be automatically granted by Hiwa (I wish for a million dollars!). By making your pledge you promise to put in the mahi to achieve it.

And your pledge shouldn’t be just about doing things for yourself (I promise to eat more kale and go to the gym!). The rising of Matariki is a time for us to think about what we can do for the collective. What can I do this year for my whānau? My hapori? Or te taiao?

Aspirations of our manuhiri

For the first Matariki public holiday in 2022, Te Papa invited manuhiri to share their pledges for the coming year. In seven weeks, approximately 12,000 pledges were written and hung up in the Mānawatia a Matariki experience.

There were many plans for the New Year, from simple wishes of aroha and support for whānau, to growing your own kai, to creating safe spaces for our LGBTQIA+ community, to working towards a thriving future for tamariki.

Connecting with whānau was the biggest kaupapa

Just over half of our manuhiri (55%) wrote aspirations for their whānau. The biggest theme amongst these was promising to connect and spend more time with family. From spending less time on devices, to reconnecting after pandemic separation, to deeply moving promises about healing past trauma.

Handwritten words on a piece of white paper reads: I will be the one to break generational habits. Love on my family no matter what. S.K.T.
Pledge by our manuhiri for their whānau. Pledge reads: “I will be the one to break generational habits. Love on my family no matter what.” Photo by Murphy Peoples

Taking action for te taiao

Of those who made a pledge for te taiao (23%), an overwhelming number of these were a promise to take action. From avoiding single-use plastics, to eating sustainable kaimoana, to coordinating a volunteer group to clean the local beach, our manuhiri were keen to think and act differently for the benefit of Papatūānuku.

Handwritten note on white paper. Pledge reads: I will educate more people about kaitiakaitanga and protection of the koroā. There is a drawing of a penguin//koroā.
Pledge by Te Papa manuhiri for te taiao. Pledge reads: “I will educate more people about kaitiakaitanga and protection of the koroā.” Photo by Murphy Peoples

Serving hapori

When it comes to caring for community, this is something our manuhiri felt strongly about. Of the pledges, 20% were about hapori, with promises to serve or make change within their community being the strongest theme. These pledges included creating safe spaces for rangatahi, starting skills-sharing programmes, and running neighbourhood BBQs.

Messages to the whetū Pōhutukawa

A small group of manuhiri (2%) took time to leave messages in memory of loved ones who have passed since the last rising of Matariki. The whetū Pōhutukawa, the eldest tamariki of Matariki, holds responsibility for carrying those who have passed away into the sky to become stars at the time of New Year.

Thriving in te ao Māori

It is worth highlighting that 5% of the pledges across whānau, hapori, and te taiao were around making a pledge or wish towards thriving in te ao Māori, or enhancing the mana of te ao Māori. From starting a journey to learning whakapapa, to practicing te reo Māori daily, to singing waiata, to striving for sovereignty and honouring of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Thank you to the 12,000 manuhiri who shared their pledges with us in 2022. What will you pledge to Hiwa-i-te-rangi for the next rising of Matariki?

Find out more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *