How New Zealand Libraries are bringing communities together for Matariki

13th June 2024

New Zealand Libraries are rising to the occasion to celebrate this year's Matariki

The Māori New Year, Matariki, is a season of joy and reflection. During Matariki, whānau, hapu, and iwi join together to grieve for lost loved ones, exchange stories, engage in conversation, and celebrate with their local community.

The Pleiades star cluster, which resurface in the Southern Hemisphere's winter sky, is referred to as the "Matariki" in this context. When these stars are seen, the Māori New Year begins, a time to remember the past, rejoice in the present, and make plans for the future. Matariki is a time of cultural significance and group activities, much more than just an astronomical event. It’s a moment to take stock and look ahead to the upcoming year with excitement and hope, sowing the actual as well as symbolic seeds for future development and growth.

New Zealand libraries are rising to the occasion to celebrate this year's Matariki as the celebration approaches. Libraries have long been hubs of community engagement, education, and knowledge.

Libraries organise a wide range of events and programmes every year with the goal of enlightening, motivating, and involving their local communities. These programmes aim to promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of Māori culture and traditions through a variety of activities, such as stargazing events, traditional storytelling sessions that pass down the legends of Matariki, and contemporary craft workshops.

Libraries across the country are bringing the essence of Matariki into the hearts and minds of people of all ages by hosting activities, providing educational resources, and encouraging community spirit. Libraries are collaborating with community organisations, schools, cultural experts, and local kaumātua to make sure that their Matariki celebrations are inclusive and open to all.

To find out more about events happening nearby, be sure to check out your library’s events calendar either online or in person.

Libraries are setting up special displays and exhibitions to highlight their vast collections of books and digital resources related to Matariki and Māori heritage in addition to their community events. These initiatives not only draw attention to the abundance of information accessible but also inspire visitors to discover and engage with Aotearoa's rich cultural diversity. Impressive, age-appropriate collections may be found at your local library, with tamariki (children) picture books by local authors making wonderful bedtime reads.

We encourage you to participate in the Matariki celebrations by going to your local library. Come as a solo traveller, with your hoa, hoamahi, or with your whānau, and you'll discover a warm environment full of chances to interact, educate, and celebrate as a group. Encourage your family and friends to "me tūtaki tāua ki Te Pātaka Kōrero" (meet me at the library).

By Ellie Dowling, Business Development Manager Australia & New Zealand – Libraries