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Celebrating Matariki with mana whenua

Hundreds of Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust members came together at Mount Roskill War Memorial Hall to celebrate Matariki amid music, dance and a lot of learning about Māori culture.

The meeting started with ritual prayers, followed by a yoga session and servings of snacks with tea.

BSCT volunteer and teacher at Bal Vikas Language and Cultural classes Kanika ji told the members about the importance of Matariki and some Te Reo words that they can use in daily lives.

Puketāpapa Local Board's chairperson Ella Kumar ji also spoke Māori culture and significance to know the rich culture of Aotearoa for all the communities.

The members enjoyed a series of signing performances by a Māori family who was kind enough to enlighten the gathering about their culture and traditions.

Kahtleen Williams, who performed with her children and grandchildren at the meeting, said her children have been performing kapa haka since they were born.

"This is the fourth generation performance. On that day my babies enjoyed themselves. Thank you so much for caring for us. You have a lot of humble people that I enjoyed. We had an elder come to see us. He was a teacher. He said he was in tears so that made me feel so honored to perform in front of them all," she said.

The family also exhibited many artifacts and items of cultural significance. Bhartiya Samaj family thank Kathleen and her whānau who gave a captivating performance.

Jeet Suchdev ji said, "Several communities including Indian and other South Asian communities have always been inspired by the Māori culture. Matariki is a time when they celebrate new year, and it is an opportunity for us to know more about the Māori culture and traditions."

Kapa haka was followed by a dance performance by two 13-year-old young females. It was absolutely enthralling.

According to NZ History, Māori New Year is marked by the rise of Matariki (the group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster or The Seven Sisters) and the sighting of the next new moon. Traditionally, Matariki was used to determine the coming season's crop. A warmer season, and therefore a more productive crop yield, was indicated by brighter stars.

Matariki provides an ideal opportunity to explore the ways that people pass on and sustain aspects of their culture and heritage. Matariki is an important part of the New Zealand calendar.



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