The First Matariki

Today marks Matariki, the first “new” New Zealand public holiday since Waitangi Day was added in 1974. Officially the start of the Maori New Year, this is one of those moveable beasties – much like Easter, the dates will vary from year to year, anywhere from mid-June to mid-July. At the astronomical level, it’s about the rising of the Pleiades star cluster, and I think the Moon is involved somehow, but really it’s one of those mid-winter celebrations that is part of the universal human experience. Better yet, its addition eats away at the black hole in New Zealand’s holiday calendar between Queen’s Birthday (early June) and Labour Day (late October). It’s an addition I fully approve of.

Dunedin has been having a week of non-trivial frosts during the longest nights of the year, so I’ve been marking this new public holiday with hot drinks, a floofy warm dressing-gown and a heater. And not leaving the house. I do, alas, have work tomorrow morning, so the roads should prove interesting…

2 thoughts on “The First Matariki

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