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Community collaboration for Katikati Matariki Dawn Service

In celebration of Matariki, Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tamawhariua, Katch Katikati, Katikati Community Centre, Project Parore, Western Bay Museum Te Rereatukahia Marae, Katikati Red Cross and Katikati Rotary Club are hosting a dawn service to reflect on the past, celebrate the present and prepare for the future.  

Matariki marks the start of the Māori New Year, signified by the Matariki cluster of stars reappearing in the night sky. It is a time to remember those who are no longer with us. A time where thanks are given to the provisions provided from the earth, sky, and water. A time to nurture the earth, sky and bodies of water for the future.

The community of Katikati will have the opportunity to unite and celebrate the Māori new year again, after last year’s successful Matariki Dawn Service with dedicated organisations involved in the preparations.

Community members will be able to gather along Park Road on Friday 28 June before dawn breaks and can proceed along the Reserve footpath to a marquee with seating and heating.

The marquee will be strategically placed at the highest point of the reserve on an ancient fortified pā site of Ngāi Te Rangi. Allowing attendees to look out onto the Tauranga Harbour, the water which feeds the local Uretara River, an awa of great significance to both Māori and early settlers of the area.

The view of the Matariki cluster and wider solar system is undisrupted from this position, with the cluster set to sit above the northern parts of Matakana Island towards the horizon in crystal clear views.

Those who attend the celebration will be treated to commentary on how to view and identify the cluster, what these stars mean individually, and culturally, and how their values can be embodied, practised and celebrated by the diverse community.

Committee member, Kylie Watkins from Katch Katikati says it’s a chance to come together, be unified and to share this intimate moment around the importance of the Māori New Year.

“It marks the inaugural gathering and a special opportunity for our community to unite and discover the significance of Matariki.”

The Tauranga Western Bay Community Event Fund (TWBCEF) supported the festival with a $12,000 community event grant to ensure its accessibility to the community with no entry fees.

The fund is a partnership between local funders Acorn Foundation, BayTrust, TECT, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council with the core purpose of supporting community-led events and those that encourage participation for free or at low-cost.

TECT Chief Executive Wayne Werder says the Tauranga Western Bay Community Event Fund sees value in organisations working together, putting the education of their community at the forefront of this service.

“It is great to see the community encouraging locals to learn about Matariki and the principles and ideas of the Māori New Year,” says Werder.

Western Bay of Plenty Council’s Community and Strategic Relationship Manager, Jodie Rickard says this service provides the community a chance to not only learn, but come together and honour Matariki through traditional ceremonies, performances, and storytelling.

“It will bring people from a range of backgrounds and ages together, to connect through participating in a shared experience,” says Rickard, “doing this helps create a stronger and more cohesive community.”

Attendees will also be treated to kapa haka, setting goal intentions and aspirations for the year ahead, as well as warm beverages and refreshments before a Pohutukawa tree is planted, acknowledging past, present and future togetherness, giving us all a chance to celebrate new beginnings for the Māori New Year.

Katikati Matariki Dawn Service Details

Friday 28 June 2024

Gathering from 4:30am – Mihi at 5:15am atPark Road Reserve, Katikati

Free to attend. More information available at Katch Katikati Facebook page. Programme to be released.