Centre lights up for Maori New Year

01:00, Jun 24 2014
cara miller
ROSY GLOW: Meve Agnew with her lantern at the Matariki celebration held at Tahunanui Community Centre.

Under a twinkling winter sky, children and parents gathered at Tahunanui Community Centre to celebrate Matariki.

Last night in honour of Maori New Year locals made lanterns, shared pumpkin soup and bread, sang, and heard stories about the history of Matariki.

Centre manager Judy Robinson says it was a beautiful evening with a wonderful atmosphere. "It was a great way of getting families out doing things together and really celebrating being together," she says.

About 40 people connected to the centre's playgroup or preschool attended the event with children at the centre making decorations such as stars. The children have been learning about Matariki during the past two weeks.

Robinson says the annual event creates an avenue for the community to come together. People dropping off their children at the centre often do not have an opportunity to connect with others in their neighbourhood, but through the Matariki celebrations they can meet others and develop friendships, she says.

"It's a great way to start having conversations with people," says Robinson.

"It was just about gathering people together, sharing food and celebrating the night." The centre plans to run the celebrations for the third time next year as parents seemed to like coming and sharing the night with their children and it was an especially good opportunity for fathers to come along, she says.