This year's Matariki celebrations are set to be one of the largest the country has ever witnessed.
The following information is straight from Tourism New Zealand and details all you need to know to get some great story ideas. At the end of the post, I have suggested a selection of itineraries perfect for experiencing the planned events and regions involved in the celebrations:
Hundreds of events are being planned around the country and the New Zealand Maori Tourism Council says it's a sure sign of New Zealand's increasing awareness of its unique culture and place in the world.
Matariki is a cluster of stars, also known as the Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters. For Maori, the stars' appearance in the skies above Aotearoa signifies the end of one year and the beginning of another. This year the Maori New Year officially begins on 16 June 2007.
Traditionally, Matariki (translated as tiny eyes or eyes of God) occurred at the end of harvest and it was a time to celebrate, prepare the land for planting, renew associations with whanau (family) and friends, reflect on the past and set goals for the future.
"Today Matariki is a time for all New Zealanders to celebrate who we are and what we have achieved together," says Johnny Edmonds, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Maori Tourism Council.
The revival of Matariki has been gathering momentum for the past few years. This year will see regions all over the country participating in Matariki with their own unique activities. "It's fantastic to see so many people embracing Matariki," says Edmonds. "While it may be of Maori origins, Matariki is a time for all New Zealanders to celebrate their identity and look towards the future."
Matariki is also a time of year to learn about New Zealand's indigenous Maori culture. "It gives people, especially those visitors from overseas, a chance to engage with Maori and see what it is that makes Maori unique," says Edmonds.
In Northland more than 80 events are scheduled throughout the month long celebrations.
"The renaissance of this significant Maori celebration is a great opportunity for all New Zealanders to remind ourselves of what we have achieved together and of our special place in the world," says Edmonds.
www.tepapa.co.nz/matariki / www.taitokerau.co.nz/matariki / www.puanga.org.nz / www.matarikifestival.co.nz
SUITABLE ITINERARIES FROM DISCOVER THE WORLD:
- Let's face it, if you're going all that way, you might aswell do as much of the country as possible. For this very reason, our North & South Island self drive itinerary (14 days) is one of our most popular and takes in all the best bits of the country including Wellington (home of Te Papa museum, focus for the above Matariki events). Prices in June start from £804 pp based on twin share (exc flights*).
- Our 15 day Simply the Best itinerary is another gem that takes-in both islands with more of the south Island's west coast, as well as visiting NZ's southernmost city, Invercargill. Prices in June start from £972 pp based on twin share (exc flights*).
- If time is short then our Northern Discovery will take you to the city at the heart of the Maori culture, Rotorua, as well as Auckland and of course the capital, Wellington, with its huge selection of cafes, bars and of course home to the National Museum, Te Papa. Prices in June start from £457 pp based on twin share (exc flights*).
* Flights are not included and are available through Discover the World from around £1100 inc taxes per person with Air New Zealand.
Discover the World, recently voted NZ Travel Specialist of the year 2007 by Tourism New Zealand, offer a substantial range of New Zealand holidays, including a wide selection of self drive holidays. For enquiries, a brochure or to make a booking, please call 0870 060 3288 or visit the comprehensive website www.discover-the-world.co.uk/newzealand
If you need any images or further info, then call me (Alexis) on 01737 214 294 or email firstname.lastname@example.org - thanks!!