Kei aku nui, tae atu ki te hunga taiohi, nau mai, haere mai.
Haere mai tatau i te wā o Matariki nei, me Puanga.
Nā rātau te ki, ” No runga ngā mea papai katoa “.
No reira, Haere mai tatau. Titiro whakarunga.
Greetings to you all tonight, and especially to you our youth.
Welcome at this time of Matariki, and of Puanga. (Pleiades and Rigel).
Our ancestors said ‘All good things come from above’.
And so welcome, let’s look upwards.
I specifically acknowledge His Excellency Mr Scott Brown, the United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Mr Rodolphe Sambu, Deputy Head of Mission at the French Embassy; Government House Kaumatua Professor Piri Sciascia, and Hari Mogasanu from Experience Wellington.
And I offer a special welcome to all the young people joining us tonight. Here at Government House, we embrace Matariki’s spirit of manaakitanga – hospitality, so thank you all for coming tonight to share our Matariki celebrations with us.
In the season of Matariki, science and culture come together, and remind us that our relationship with the natural world is indivisible from the way we live our lives and our wellbeing.
Tonight’s programme brings those elements together by focussing on something most of us probably don’t think about very often.
I am talking here about what is above us, in the night sky.
In the 21st century, we don’t have much cause to look up at the stars, and it’s not until we spend some time in a remote setting, away from city lights, that we can see the stars as clearly as our ancestors did.
For them, knowledge of the night sky was vital. It enabled them to make sense of their world. Stars helped them survive journeys, and to reach their destination on land and sea.
Stars helped them survive by signalling when it was the best time to plant particular crops, or to harvest them.
Every culture tried to make sense of what they saw by naming stars that were useful to them and in many cases, constructing elaborate explanations for their relative positions.
For Māori, the appearance of the Matariki stars, or Pleiades, signal the turning point of winter, and the beginning of the New Year. With the prospect of longer daylight hours, plans can be made for spring plantings.
Matariki ahunga nui,
Matariki, provider of plentiful food, indicates how Matariki is celebrated as a time for generous hospitality, when family and friends can get together, share food and celebrate cultural traditions.
Whatever our cultural origins, we value such gatherings.
Traditionally, Matariki is also a time to impart knowledge, so our guest speaker, Hari Mogasanu is going to tell us about what the Pleiades mean in some of the many cultures represented in 21st century New Zealand.
But wait – there’s more. Weather permitting, we have telescopes outside on the Terrace, with staff from Museums Wellington on hand so you can learn about what to look for in the night sky.
Please enjoy this opportunity to expand your celestial horizons and share in Government House’s Matariki manaakitanga.