Matariki and Winter Fun at Nga Purapura

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With total concentration Otaki six year old Rawiri Nelson, with guidance from Paekakairiki’s Margaret Jackson weaves his own Matariki star, at the Matariki celebrations at Nga Purapura

Matariki, celebrating the Māori New Year, drew crowds to Nga Purapura in mid-July, to sample Māori kai, crafts and stories organised by Nga Kākano for the region’s young people.

Festival goers could try their hand at making flax whetu (stars) or lanterns, purchase hangi and other traditional foods, as well as a variety of sweets and home baking, jewellery and crafts.

Ten year old Justyce Cootes from Otaki decorates her Matariki lantern at the Matariki celebrations at Nga Purapura
Ten year old Justyce Cootes from Otaki decorates her Matariki lantern at the Matariki celebrations at Nga Purapura

Theo Stechman spent three weeks workshopping with college students who learnt the skills of street art and aerosol painting, prior to the celebration. Some of these were for sale. There were opportunities for others to try their artistic skills at the festival.

Entertainment was provided by Chad Chambers, DJ Spell and Tipene Hikawera in the main gym while for a quieter time, there were puppet shows and story-telling. A “king-size” bouncy castle — whare was very popular among the younger children.

Ōtaki’s Nga Kākano — youth, can be proud of the family oriented event they brought to Ōtaki.

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