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Libraries offer a full storehouse of activities for Matariki

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28 May 2009

The Christchurch City Libraries network is gearing up for its annual Matariki celebrations from June 3.

The 20 libraries around the city will offer Matariki-themed storytelling, star craft, star weaving, kapa haka and tukutuku panel weaving to mark the traditional Māori New Year.

Additionally, the Central Library will be offering expert investigation into the library’s resources for Whakapapa research while the Bishopdale Library will be doing a community foodbank collection for the Christchurch City Mission.

The Bishopdale Library will be accepting non-perishable goods from the community from June 2 to July 3 during library hours. “Matariki is traditionally the time when the harvesting is done and the storehouses are full. The food bank collection is to remind us that we should care for those whose storehouse is not so full,” says Aurelia Arona, Kaitakawaenga at the Central Library.

Matariki is also the time when the repose after the harvest allows for intellectual activities and that is precisely what the Libraries want to achieve, says Miss Arona.

The Māori reference librarian at Central Library, Moata Tamaira will be offering two workshops regarding conducting Whakapapa research using Library Resources. “There are a lot of people who want to research Whakapapa but do not know how to go about it. Moata is an expert in the resources we have available and will guide people through the research,” says Miss Arona.

The two-part Tuesday sessions will include getting to know the resources available for the research and a hands-on session for using the resources for specific Whakapapa questions. While the sessions are free, booking are required.

As part of the Libraries’ 150th Anniversary celebrations, staff from various libraries are weaving tukutuku panels which will reflect the history of each library. Library customers also have an opportunity to contribute to the weaving at the community tukutuku sessions as part of this year’s Matariki celebrations. The completed panels will adorn the walls of the libraries and teams throughout the network and reflect the team’s history, location or values.

Contemporary fibres are being used in star weaving, star craft and tukutuku panels, to ease the difficulty associated with using traditional materials. “We have gone with contemporary fibres because the traditional harvesting and preparing of materials in weaving and craft is an expertise in itself, and should have been completed prior to this time of year for use during the cold season.” says Ms Arona.

“The Matariki activities offer different levels of participation, allowing one to either observe or participate,” says Ms Arona. “They cover the whole range of our Listen, Learn, Share, Sing and Celebrate... Together motto which is essentially what we have set out to achieve.”

Matariki celebrations in Christchurch will include events at the Christchurch City Libraries (CCL), the Christchurch Art Gallery, Our City-O Tautahi and at Ngā hau e whā National Marae.
The Libraries will be celebrating Matariki with a series of events around its library network during June. Also, there will be cross-over events for CCL’s 150th Anniversary celebration, which ends in August.

The National Marae will be celebrating Matariki for a fortnight with public events, including weekend workshops in kapa haka, quilt making, ukulele, rock painting and doll making in June. The Marae events are targeted on providing for the schools and residents in the eastern suburbs.

Matariki is the Māori name for the group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster or the Seven Sisters and what is referred to as the traditional Māori New Year. The Māori New Year is marked by the rise of Matariki and the sighting of the next new moon. The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May every year and the New Year is marked at the sighting of the next new moon which occurs during June. Matariki events occur throughout New Zealand and the timing of the events varies depending on Iwi and geographical differences.