Story: Public holidays

Matariki celebrations

Matariki celebrations

Paora Mackie (left) and Kiley Nepia sound the conch shells at the beginning of Matariki celebrations at Wairau Bar, Marlborough, in 2009. Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades constellation. The first moon after the constellation appears in southern skies, usually in May or June, heralds the Māori New Year. In the 2000s it was common for both Māori and Pākehā to celebrate Matariki, and there were suggestions that it should be marked by a public holiday. However, a bill introduced to Parliament in 2009 failed to get political support.

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Marlborough Express
Photograph by Scott Hammond

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Public holidays - Public holidays legislation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/32453/matariki-celebrations (accessed 29 March 2017)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 20 Jun 2012, updated 16 Sep 2016