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Matariki public holiday to play starring role on Friday


Ngāruawāhia – Aotearoa New Zealand will, for the first time, commemorate Matariki with a public holiday on Friday, for the first time ever.

Legislation to create the annual public holiday, acknowledging the rise of the Matariki star cluster and marking the Māori New Year has been approved by parliament.

This is a historic moment for all Kiwis. It will be the first national holiday to specifically recognise and celebrate mātauranga Māori.

New Zealanders deserve a new public holiday, but not at the expense of another such as Labour Day.

Matariki is not about replacing an existing public holiday. Rather it provides New Zealanders with a new opportunity to embrace the distinctive national indigenous identity.

Matariki is a time of unity, renewal, celebration, and hope. With the challenges we have all faced in recent times, it allows us to come together with whānau and friends to pause, reflect and look optimistically to the future.

Research shows there are many benefits to public holidays, with business representatives themselves noting Matariki would give a much-needed mid-year boost to the hospitality and tourism sectors, both of which have done it pretty tough over the past two years.

Holidays such as Matarikiday contribute to employee well-being by reducing stress, helping to prevent burn-out and promote work-life balance.

The three major principles underpinning traditional Matariki celebrations are

  • Remembrance:honouring those who have passed on, since the last rising of Matariki
  • Celebrating the present:gathering together with family and friends
  • Looking to the future:looking forward to the promise of a new year.

So, whether it’s connecting with loved ones and community, taking time to reflect, or caring for our environment, this is a day for all New Zealanders.

Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Act was drafted in both te reo Māori and English and is only Aotearoa New Zealand’s fifth piece of dual language legislation.

The Matariki public holiday will always fall on a Friday and will shift slightly each year to align with the maramataka (Māori stellar-lunar calendar).

Iwi and Māori have a key role to play in helping us to learn about and celebrate Matariki in a way that suits each region and community. Plans are underway for a range of nationwide events to support us to celebrate Matariki across the country. Matariki hunga nui – Matariki brings us all together.