The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, has issued his second Matariki message for all New Zealanders.
Tēnei ngā mihi ki a koutou katoa, i tātou e whakanui ana i a Matariki. Greetings to you all as we celebrate Matariki.
The start of the Māori New Year is signalled when the stars of Matariki, or the Pleiades, rise on the north-eastern horizon, just before dawn, and trace the path of the rising sun.
Matariki was traditionally a time for Māori to remember those who had passed away. It was also a time to rejoice. The crops had been harvested, the storehouses were full and the start of the New Year was a time of celebration to mark the growing strength of the sun.
In a wider sense, Matariki is a time to look back on the things that are important to us, and to look forward to the future with renewed confidence, hope and ambition. It is a time to celebrate new beginnings because New Zealand is a land of new beginnings. Perched on the edge of the Earth, surrounded by the sea, it is a land where anything and everything is possible.
Putting our markers in the sand is important in setting out new beginnings. About 1000 years ago the first of our ancestors to settle here made their new beginning. In 1840, Māori and Pākehā signed a treaty of partnership – Te Tiriti o Waitangi – and committed to a future together.
And in less than a lifetime, just 53 years later, New Zealand marked another new beginning that set it on a new course. It was a radical course at the time and yet it is one that almost every other nation in the world has followed.
As we mark Matariki this year, we also celebrate that 120 years ago in 1893 New Zealand became the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote in national elections. As we mark this important milestone, let us acknowledge and celebrate the contribution the women of our beautiful land have made to building Aotearoa-New Zealand.
As Governor-General, I wish you all the very best for Matariki – New Zealand’s New Year – and for future. Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.
Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM QSO
Governor-General of New Zealand