18 Jun 2013

Te Papa has high hopes for Matariki celebrations

6:40 am on 18 June 2013

Te Papa Museum in Wellington is hoping Matariki celebrations acknowledging the Maori new year will become a normal event for everyone in New Zealand.

This year the National Museum of New Zealand has been guided by the Tainui tribes - the resident iwi at Te Papa - who are sharing their unique Matariki stories.

Ati Teepa of Ngai Tuhoe says the museum is reaching out to tamariki at kohanga reo and primary schools to teach them about the significance of the event.

He said the educational experience for younger visitors has been amazing because Te Papa has been incorporating Matariki stories from Tainui.

Mr Teepa said the children are learning about the science of Matariki, how the constellation of Pleiades signals the start of a new year, and how it was used in ancient celestial navigation by not only Maori, but other people of the Pacific.

He said by engaging with tamariki the hope is that it will become a normal celebration - a unique indigenous event for New Zealand.

He said the experience is about planting the Matariki seed for future generations.

Matariki events - which are mainly free - are running at Te Papa until late July.