How Aotearoa celebrated its first Matariki public holiday

Source: 1News

Thousands around Aotearoa celebrated the first Matariki public holiday, with a number of different events happening around the country.

The day started with a sacred hautapu ceremony at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, led by tohunga and rangatira, Sir Pou Temara and ruānuku, a group who have trained for many years with him to lead such an event.

The pre-dawn Whāngai i te Hautapu ceremony was live on 1News,, TVNZ+ and the country’s other major broadcasters in the first of its kind broadcast.

A new Ātea-ā-Rangi (star compass) was launched on the summit of Mauao in Tauranga.

READ MORE: Matariki 2022: Hautapu ceremony marks dawning of a new day

The Tīrama Mai light festival in Christchurch began on Friday, featuring a 21m illuminated tunnel running between Cathedral Square and Te Pae.

In Dunedin, hundreds of people gathered before dawn to celebrate Matariki and to pay tribute to loved ones who died in the past year.

Their faces were projected on the walls of the Otago museum.

READ MORE: Matariki is us: Dr Rangi Mātāmua on what it represents

In the regions, the Trainor Family Trust hosted a day for their whānau in Rūātoki to plant 500 trees, marking the first Matariki public holiday and Te Mātahi o te Tau / the Māori New Year.

Descendants of Ngāti Kauwhata gathered at their marae in Kawakawa (Feilding) for their first major hautapu ceremony as an iwi.

It marked a new beginning and a tradition they plan to normalise for many generations to come.