Matariki Festival puts on high-energy acts

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 21/06/2014

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Energetic performances entertained the audience at the Matariki Festival held at the Waimate High School hall yesterday.

Matariki, translated as the eyes of God, is a celebration of Maori new year. According to the Te Ara website, a cluster of stars known as the Pleiades rises once a year and it is at this time Maori traditionally remembered their dead and celebrated new life.

Matariki this year is on June 28 but the festival organisers were subject to venue availability and rain was predicted on that date.

Held for the second year at the school hall, the festival included local kapa haka groups performing as well as students from Waitaki Boys' High School for the first time.

Waimate High School year 10 student Torryn Williams said she enjoyed performing because there was Maori blood on her father's side of the family (Ngati Ruakawa) and it was important to her.

Committee chairwoman Wendy Heath, of Ngai Tahu, Kati Mamoe and Waitaha descent, said many of the performers had practised since February and some even longer.

"It's about building community. I hope next year we get other local cultures in the community involved embracing diversity," Heath said. An invitation to Timaru schools was always open for them to participate.

As well as the enthusiastic, polished performances, a static art exhibition was held and hangi-style food was available at the end of the concert from a gas kai cooker. The food was cooked and served by te runanga o Waihao.

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- The Timaru Herald

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