Matariki public holiday
The Matariki Public Holiday Bill has been passed.
The Government has created a new public holiday for Aotearoa by passing the Te Ture mō te Hararei Tūmatanui o Te Kāhui o Matariki / Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Act.
The Bill, Te Pire mō te Hararei Tūmatanui o Te Kāhui o Matariki / Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Bill, was only the fifth dual language Bill to be introduced to our Parliament.
The dates for the new Matariki public holiday were announced in 2021 by the Government in partnership with the Matariki Advisory Group. These dates are when the official public holiday for Matariki will be observed from 2022-2052.
The first public holiday to celebrate Matariki was on Friday 24 June 2022.
The Government has committed to ensuring mātauranga Maori is at the heart of celebrations of the Matariki public holiday, and it will be a time for:
- Remembrance – Honouring those we have lost since the last rising of Matariki
- Celebrating the present – Gathering together to give thanks for what we have
- Looking to the future – Looking forward to the promise of a new year
Matariki is an abbreviation of ‘Ngā Mata o te Ariki Tāwhirimātea’ (‘The Eyes of the God Tāwhirimātea’) and refers to a large cluster of stars, also known as the Pleiades.
The predawn rising of Matariki in the mid-winter sky marks the changing of the seasons and the beginning of the Māori New Year. Some iwi recognise this time of year by the appearance of Puanga, also known as Rigel. There are also regions where the setting of Rehua, also known as Antares, is used to identify the change of seasons.
A Matariki public holiday will be our first public holiday that recognises Te Ao Māori.
For employers, the celebration of Matariki will be considered a standard national public holiday. For more information on how this may impact your business, and the steps you’ll need to take, visit the Employment New Zealand website.
The Matariki Advisory Group
The Government established a Matariki Advisory Group, to determine when and how Aotearoa will celebrate Matariki together as a public holiday from 2022.
The Group brought together recognised experts from across Aotearoa, who have deep knowledge and understanding in both Te Ao Māori and mātauranga Māori associated with Matariki and the Maramataka (lunar calendar).
Dr Rangiānehu Matamua was appointed as the Chair and led the Group alongside members: Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, Rereata Makiha, Victoria Campbell, Dr Pauline Harris, Dr Ruakere Hond and Jack Thatcher.
The Group provided advice to Ministers on:
- a date for a Matariki public holiday over the next 30 years,
- how best to celebrate Matariki, and
- what education and community resources are needed to improve understanding and knowledge of Matariki across Aotearoa.
The Group led engagement with Māori, Pacific peoples and other interested parties about how the Matariki public holiday should be celebrated.
Te Arawhiti and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provided joint secretariat support to the Group.