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OM’s dawn ceremony celebrating Matariki

Gathered people gaze as animation is projected onto the facade of Otago Museum at its dawn ceremony to celebrate Matariki yesterday morning. Photo: Peter McIntosh.

Andrew Marshall, Good crowd rugs up for Matariki ceremony at Museum, Otago Daily Times, 5 July 2021

An early and rather cold start presented no barrier and could not prevent keen Dunedin residents from attending the Otago Museum’s first dawn ceremony celebrating Matariki yesterday morning.

Rugged up to brave a temperature of 2 degrees C, a crowd of about 200 people watched an animation projected onto the facade of the museum at 7 am, followed by a karakia and whakamaumahara (memorial speech) in the museum reserve.

The whakamaumahara included an opportunity for the gathering to remember loved ones who had passed in the preceding 12 months.

The assembly then moved indoors for speeches and a shared breakfast in the foyer of the museum.

In his speech, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said as Matariki was a time of remembrance, he had been reflecting on the work and legacy of former mayor Dave Cull.

He mentioned both his work in strengthening relationships between the Dunedin City Council and mana whenua, and advocacy work on the national level to remove barriers to Maori representation in local politics.

Museum director and astronomer Dr Ian Griffin said during his speech it was particularly pleasing to mark a holiday with an intrinsic tie to astronomy, and said museum staff had done an excellent job of organising the event in only two weeks.

He said the event had personal significance as his daughter was named after one of the stars of the Pleiades, which was what astronomers called the Matariki constellation.

Mana whenua representative Paulette Tamati-Elliffe said it had been good to collaborate with the museum to put the event together and bring a Maori worldview and knowledge to the proceedings.

With the new public holiday next year, the event would continue to grow in stature.

“This is just fantastic to be alive in the generation where our indigenous culture of this whenua [land] is acknowledged.”

See also: Matariki lights up museum

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