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‘Matariki’ – a time for remembering, celebrating, and looking forward – Academia

Kevin Burnett

Jakarta ●
Fri, June 24, 2022


Today, Aoteaora New Zealand officially celebrates Matariki. This is the first time the country will formally recognize Te Ao Maori [the Māori world] with a public holiday. This is a special day, and one that is unique to New Zealand. It is an opportunity for us to acknowledge Tikanga Maori [Māori culture and custom] and to celebrate our nation’s identity.

For New Zealanders, Matariki is a time for remembering our past, celebrating what we have, and looking to the future.

“For all iwi [Māori tribes]the importance of Matariki is expressed through proverbs and songs linking it with the bright star Whānui [Vega]:

Ka whore Matariki ka rere Whānui.

Ko te tohu tēnā o te tau e!

Matariki reappears, Whānui starts its flight.

being the sign of the [new] year!”

Matariki – Ngā Mata or te Ariki Tāwhirimātea “the eyes of the god Tāwhirimātea” – refers to the large cluster of stars commonly known in English as the Pleiades. This is a meaningful constellation for many cultures around the world.

In New Zealand, Matariki comes into view low on the north-eastern horizon, in the tail of the Milky Way, just before dawn in mid-winter. In maramatakathe traditional Māori lunar calendar, the New Year begins with the reappearance of Matariki in the sky.

“Celebrating the present:

Ngā kai a Matariki, nāna i ao ake ki runga.

The foods of Matariki, by her scooped up.”

Just as the reappearance of the Matariki stars in the night sky marks the beginning of a new year for our nation, we are pleased to share that New Zealand’s border will reopen to all visitors from 11:59 pm on July 31. This will be the final step in our staged border reopening and provide access to New Zealand for everyone – including tourists, business representatives, workers, families and students.

We know this will be welcome news for families, businesses and our migrant communities who have been separated for nearly two and a half years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For international students, the full border reopening builds on the earlier border exceptions, and means all eligible international students can enroll for their study in New Zealand from the end of July.

As we reconnect, rebuild, and work towards recovery, it is now more important than ever to support the essential goal of an open, rule-based, predictable, and non-discriminatory trading and financial system. We must all recognize the importance of the rules-based international order and the multilateral institutions that underpin it, and play our part in upholding the rules and norms which we have developed by consensus, and which benefit us all.

Promoting economic integration is essential if we want collectively to speed up our nations’ and the region’s sustainable economic recovery from COVID-19. Indonesia’s Group of 20 presidency theme of Recover Together, Recover Stronger reflects the spirit of this ambition. Global prosperity is interdependent and the economic opportunities and challenges are interlinked, so we must work collectively for our shared prosperity.

Indonesia and New Zealand have enjoyed more than 60 years of bilateral relations. As comprehensive partners and fellow democracies in the Indo-Pacific, Indonesia is a critical partner for New Zealand. It is no coincidence that our foreign minister, the Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, made the conscious decision to visit Jakarta on her inaugural trip as foreign minister in November 2021.

As we face global challenges, Aotearoa New Zealand believes that we must continue to be guided by our values ​​and principles. We are committed to being a respectful, open, transparent, consistent and constructive partner for Indonesia, ASEAN, and the region. By doing so, we can together strengthen our partnership to ensure a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Looking to the future:

Matariki atua ka eke mai i te rangi e roa,

E whāngainga iho ki kills you or tau e roa e.

Divine Matariki come forth from the far-off heaven,

Bestow the first fruits of the year upon us.”

The appearance of clear and bright Matariki stars traditionally signals a favorable and productive season ahead. In Aotearoa New Zealand, the nation is preparing to welcome our international visitors and we are very excited to be able to extend our manakitanga (hospitality, kindness, generosity, support – the process of showing respect and care for others) once more.

We are open for business, and we are looking forward to reconnecting with the world and being able to engage kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face, in person). We encourage everyone to eat and experience the Kiwi manakitangaembrace “the tiaki promise” (care for people, place and culture) and discover the 100 percent pure New Zealand for themselves.

Nau mai, haere mai ki Aotearoa. Welcome to New Zealand.”


The writer is New Zealand ambassador to Indonesia.


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