COVID Rāhui Extends to 2020 Puaka Matariki Festival

In Ōtepoti Dunedin we usually celebrate the Māori New Year through a diverse citywide programme of community events. In a normal year, communities will gather to celebrate the season at shared feasts, fun and educational programmes, and through a wide range of Mātauraka Māori and Toi Māori events.

But this is not a normal year…

Keeping our hāpori safe from COVID-19 is our number one priority.

For this reason, the PMF Steering Roopū have decided the rāhui will extend to the Festival.

This year, the Dunedin Puaka Matariki Festival will not be delivered kanohi ki te kanohi.

Instead, knowledge will be shared and our community will come together virtually, through this website
and other online and broadcast media.

This year, the Dunedin Puaka Matariki Festival will be celebrated online from Monday 13 July to Monday 20 July.

This differs from recently published dates, and follows tohunga kōkōrangi Rangi Matamua’s maramataka of the tika lunar phase to celebrate the rising of the Matariki star cluster. *

* Matamua, R. (2017). Matariki: the star of the year. Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand: Huia.

Meanwhile, we continue to practice tikaka hauora, and keep abreast of news of the latest developments in the fight to eliminate COVID-19 via the Ministry of Health’s website, in particular its media releases page.

Pēnā, join us in celebrating the midwinter season of wānaka (learning) and whanaukataka (community spirit).

Nau mai, tautimai – everyone is welcome!

Stay tuned here for updates 🌟

2020 Otago Polyfest CANCELLED

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E aku nui, e aku iti, tēnā koutou katoaNei te reo rahiri e rere atu ana ki a koutou i ngā āhuatanga o te wā.Ko te tumanako ia ka noho haumaru koutou katoa i roto i tō ake mirumiru hauora. Heoti he raru ki uta he raru ki tai! E te whānau e whakapono ana mātou i te kōrero “He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.” Nō reira tēnei te mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa. 

Bula vinaka, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Kia orana, Mālō e lelei, Mauri, Namasde, Talofa, Talofa lava, Taloha ni, & Greetings

Te Mana Ahua Ake Charitable Trust, which organises Otago Polyfest, is sad to confirm the cancellation of this year’s festival. The 27th Otago Polyfest was scheduled to be held in September at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin. 

“After carefully considering the risks the global COVID-19 pandemic poses to the safety and wellbeing of everyone involved, we regret to announce this decision,” say trustees and co-chairs, Angelina Kiore and Pip Laufiso. 

The trustees say it is unclear when early learning services and schools will be able to plan, rehearse and organise their groups. Furthermore, groups rely on the significant contribution made by kaumatua, elders and community whānau who may be compromised by large gatherings and potential exposure to infections. The trustees have been in touch with the Otago Polyfest community and cultural advisors to let them know about the cancellation. 

While disappointed not to be able to offer the event this year, the trustees reiterate the importance of valuing and maintaining Māori and Pasifika cultural experiences for young people and whānau as an integral part of any ECE / school or home-based education programme. The trustees strongly urge groups to continue including waiata, karakia, Te Reo Māori, Pacific languages and stories in their programmes. 

The Otago Polyfest is a major component of the arts, cultural and performance curriculum and this is the first year since 1993 that it will not be held. The trust will explore alternatives and opportunities to celebrate the rich and vibrant Māori and Pasifika performing arts in Otago. All performances from the past few years are available to watch and share on the Otago Polyfest YouTube channel.

The trust is planning for the next steps and extends an invitation to anyone to contact them for further information or guidance. 

Kia maumahara ki tou mana ahua ake
Cherish your absolute uniqueness

Otago Polyfest Email   Facebook   YouTube

2020 Puaka Matariki Festival Funding Round OPEN!

Ehara ehara: the 2020 Dunedin Puaka Matariki Festival Contestable Grants funding round and Event Registration period is now open!

This year, the Festival will be from Monday 13 July to Sunday 26 July.

The event registration and funding application period will close on Friday 1 May at 5pm. Late entries will not be accepted.

While Aotearoa Niu Tīrene is in Level 4 isolation against the spread of COVID-19, we are seeing the real benefits of heeding the lessons our tūpuna have passed on, for our survival: be mindful of the whole community’s welfare, adapt, and share knowledge. This is the spirit of our midwinter festival of wānaka and whanukataka in action.

We don’t know yet how we will be able to come together to celebrate the Māori New Year in July. In the meantime, you and your whānau and friends may have some great ideas for a different kinds of Puaka Matariki Festival wānaka me whanaukataka than we usually experience. Think about Level 2 or Level 3 scenarios and all that modern tech we’re presently relying on for virtual huihui, perhaps. Karawhiua!

You can register your event here, and apply for funding here. Be sure to read the Guide before you do. And if you have any questions at all about how your event idea fits the Festival event criteria, or the submission forms, email or call during ‘normal’ work hours – the contact details are in the Guide ☺️

Kia pai tātou ki a tātou, ā, noho ora mai rā ki a tātou katoa.

Visibility of Puaka and Matariki

Alan Gilmore, the former superintendent of the University of Canterbury Mount John Observatory at Tekapo, explains the difference between the reappearance of Puaka and the rising of Matariki each winter.

The Earth circles the Sun through the year. This causes the Sun to appear to move a little east against the background stars each day. We take our time from the Sun, not from the stars, so we see the stars shifting a little west each day. This causes the stars to rise and set four minutes earlier each day. That is why we see different stars at different times of the year.

Most people know the pattern of ‘The Pot’ or ‘The Saucepan’, Orion’s belt and sword in European and Middle Eastern astronomy. The Pot is first seen in the evening sky in spring when it is rising in the east. By summer it is midway up our northern sky at dusk. (Puaka/Rigel, a bright bluish star, is then straight above The Pot.) In the autumn The Pot falls lower in the western sky. Around the beginning of June it can be seen both setting in the dusk and rising in the dawn. So it never completely disappears from our sky. The three bright stars of The Pot are on the equator of the sky.

Stars in the south stay in our sky all the time. The Southern Cross is nearly overhead on May and June evenings. In August and September it is nearly on its side on the southwest. In November it is upside down low on the south skyline. In February–March it is on its other side in the southeast sky.

The Earth’s axis is tilted to its orbit. That is why we have seasons. In our summer the southern hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun. In our winter, when the Earth is around the other side of the Sun, the southern hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun. Between the summer and winter the Earth’s equator is pointed at the Sun. That’s when we have the equinoxes: equal day and night.

The Earth’s tilt causes the Sun’s annual track through the stars to be tilted to the equator of the sky. In our summer the Sun hides star patterns of the southern sky around the Scorpion and Sagittarius. As the Sun moves on these constellations appear in the dawn sky. They are overhead in mid-winter.

The Matariki/Pleiades star cluster is in the north sky close to the Sun’s track. So Matariki is hidden by the Sun from late April to mid-June as the Sun moves past that part of the sky.

The Sun’s track is well north of, or below, Orion. So Puaka is never hidden by the Sun from our southern hemisphere viewpoint. At the end of May and for most of June Puaka can be seen both setting in the western sky at dusk and rising in the eastern sky at dawn.

Matariki, being a cluster of stars much fainter than Puaka, is not seen in bright twilight nor when it is near the horizon. It has to be higher in a darker sky to be seen. There are no reliable naked-eye sightings of Matariki before June 14.

Approximate rise times for Puaka/Rigel, the Sun and Matariki at Dunedin (a.m. NZST)
Date           Puaka/Rigel       Sun        Matariki
May 20          7:20                 7:50
May 25          7:00                 7:55
May 30          6:40                 8:00
June 4            6:21                 8:05            7:14
June 9            6:01                 8:08            6:55
June 14          5:41                 8:11            6:35
June 19          5:22                 8:13            6:15