Matariki lights ready to fly

18:57, Jun 27 2014
STAR BRIGHT: Te Ana Maori Rock Art centre curator Amanda Symon with two of the lanterns that were made by local school children to celebrate Puaka Matariki – the Maori New Year. Some of the lanterns will be released tonight at the Botanic Gardens in Timaru. 

Schoolchildren from around the region will gather at the Timaru Botanic Gardens tonight to light and release handmade lanterns in celebration of Puaka Matariki - the Maori New Year.

Puaka Matariki is the midwinter new year observed after the rising of the star Puaka, the constellation Matariki and the following new moon.

Te Ana Maori Rock Art centre curator Amanda Symon said over the past two weeks about 500 schoolchildren had taken part in lantern-making workshops held around the district.

"We have held workshops at schools from Mackenzie to Arowhenua. We have made some big star lanterns - we have blisters on our blisters," she said laughing.

Symon said the workshops were educational as well as fun.

"We also taught the children about the constellations and the tradition behind Matariki and Puaka during the workshops."


At tonight's event the lanterns will be lit and some will be released into the night's sky.

"We will set out a walking track and also have 2500 glow sticks lighting the way.

"The event is mainly for families but anyone is welcome to come. People will need to dress warmly and bring a torch and lighter."

■ The Puaka Matariki and Festival of Lights event will be held from 6pm to 7pm tonight. Meet at the Botanic Gardens main gate. Entry fee $2.

The Timaru Herald