Get ready for Matariki – 28 Pipiri (June)

Matariki – the Māori New Year – is on Saturday 28th June. There is a fab range of events in the next few days to celebrate.

Tonight (Wednesday 25 June) at 6.15pm A Tane me Ngā Whetu
Matariki storytimes at Upper Riccarton Library. Bring along your whānau to listen to stories about Matariki, learn a waiata, and have fun. Dress code: PJs and a blanket.

Matariki seminar: The sharing of Rongōa. A session on traditional Māori healing with a focus on Te Taiao (the environment). Presented by Joseph Hullen. Linwood Library at Eastgate, Thursday 26 June at 6pm.

And on Matariki itself – Saturday 28 June – it’s time for the Whanau Fun Day at Rehua Marae. It goes from 10am to 3.30pm. Our librarians will be telling stories at 11am, there will be market and kai stalls all day.

There will also be:

  • Korero/ Talks on Natural Resources and Planting
  • Wahakura – Traditional Sleeping Baskets for Pēpi – 10.15am
  • Native Planting – 1.00pm
  • Rongoa Garden – 1.40pm
  • Kapa Haka: Ngā Manu a Tane, Heaton Intermediate and Te Kotahitanga

Our libraries are celebrating Matariki with community crafts and displays. Here are some photos from around our ‘branches’.
Kete cabinet at Parklands Library Matariki display at South Library Matariki leaf rubbing at Hornby Library

Story blankets at the marae: Picturing Canterbury

Story blankets at Rehua Marae Matariki story blanket display at Rehua Marae, Christchurch.

Explore our sampler of Waitangi Day photographs from our collection.

Sharing stories at Rehua Marae

Monday 25 June was the first day of our Story blanket Exhibition at Rehua Marae, part of our programme of events this year at Christchurch City Libraries to celebrate Matariki. It was well attended with nearly 100 people from tamariki to kaumātua coming down to visit on the first day. Reactions so far have been wonderful – exclamations of wonder, up-close and personal examinations by little eyes and fingers with oohhs and ahhs, to tears of appreciation. If you haven’t seen it yet you should come down and check it out for yourself.

“What is a storyblanket?” I hear you thinking … well, our storyblankets are visual retellings of six well-known New Zealand stories depicted on a blanket. The way the storyblanket exhibition works is that you can come down to the Marae, look at the blankets which are made up on mattresses in the wharenui and read the stories that have inspired them while you’re here.
Story blanket display at Rehua Story blanket display at Rehua

Story blanket display at Rehua Story blanket display at Rehua

Story blanket display at Rehua Story blanket display at Rehua

The storyblankets themselves have been several months in the making. The whakaaro behind the project was this: traditionally, Matariki was a time for wānanga (learning). With this in mind we decided to explore the idea of wānanga from a library perspective – in a sense libraries are giant storehouses of stories. We thought we could do this by looking at the idea of sharing kōrero or story across generations at Matariki, with a focus on pakiwaitara and pūrākau. The idea of the storyblankets exhibition was to express the essence of a story in a visual format.

We approached six authors with our idea, who graciously granted us permission to use their works as a source of inspiration for these taonga. The books we chose were:

Library teams from across the city then swung into action, retelling the story they had chosen on their blanket. Some teams used this as an opportunity to work alongside customers and local groups in their communities to collaborate on the artworks. Once completed they were then gathered up and brought out to Rehua. You can see some photos on our Flickr site.

Conceptually, in Te Ao Māori (if you can think outside the square a little), the wharenui is similar in some ways to a library. The whare represents the body of an ancestor, a shelter and gathering place for their descendants and is a living repository of kōrero. The whakairo (carvings), tukutuku (woven lattice workpanels) kōwhaiwhai and their placement inside the whare record and tell the stories, history and whakapapa (genealogy) of the local hapū/people who belong to a particular marae- connecting the past and the present. For us, having the opportunity to share this exhibition with the community in partnership with Rehua Marae is wonderful –  in a sense we are taking the library to the library – and it’s awesome being out there in the community. Ka rawe!

The Storyblankets will be at Rehua for the rest of this week between 10am -4pm. If you can’t make it weekdays there is a whānau fun day this Saturday, again from 10am-4pm with a lot of free fun activities planned, including weaving workshops, waiata session, storytime, readings by local authors Ben Brown and Gavin Bishop (of their books that feature in the exhibition), Random Acts of Music are coming down, and there will also be stalls and kapahaka performances.

How are you celebrating Matariki this year? We’d love to hear what others are doing. If you’re in Christchurch, think about coming down to Rehua and celebrate Matariki 2012 by sharing some stories with us? We’d love to see you!

Matariki hunga nui

ImageThe whakataukī above can be translated as meaning Matariki has many admirers. Matariki refers to the small yet distinctive constellation of The Pleiades and the name itself is often translated as meaning tiny eyes, or the eyes of God.

Traditionally, the reappearance of the star cluster in our night sky would be eagerly watched for and its appearance when it rose was thought by some to predict what the crop harvest would be like for the coming year. To many iwi the reappearance of Matariki (The Pleiades) in our skies during June, was a tohu that marked the beginning of a new year.

Christchurch City Libraries Matariki celebrations and events have been happening in our libraries since the beginning of June, as we prepare to welcome in the New Year on the 21 June.

CoverIf you don’t know a lot about Matariki and would like to learn more, the book Matariki by Libby Hakaraia is a good place to start . If you’re looking for a story you can read with children then Matariki by Melanie Drewery is a wonderful choice, it is well-written and introduces and shares some of the different beliefs and themes that relate to Matariki through story. For those who are speakers of Te Reo there is also a Te Reo Māori edition of the book.

You could also take a look at some of our excellent online resources. You could visit the Matariki page on the Māori zone on our website, or if you are looking for information more suitable for children you could try our Matariki page in the KidsZone. For teachers, we have a Matariki Teachers’ Resource [494KB PDF] that can also be found on our Matariki page.

You can find out more about our Matariki events here, including times and dates for our Matariki storytimes for preschoolers at a library near you, and details for the Storyblanket display from 25 – 30 June and the Matariki whānau day at Rehua Marae on Saturday 30 June. All our Matariki events are free and open to the public.