Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Matariki

Saw this interesting article by Paul Moon in the Herald today, on Matariki and just what it may be supposed to mean. I'm still not quite convinced, personally, that the modern incarnation isn't just some marketing mob's idea to take a Maori tradition and turn it into the counter-balance for the Western New Year and the Chinese Lunar one -- thereby creating another event to spend our money on. For me, it suddenly seemed to leap up into the calendar out of nowhere -- around the same time I was told by local Ngati Whatua that the tip or near to the tip of Rosebank Peninsula was once Rangi Matatariki, a late 18th century battleground as well as seasonal settlement. (Since then, I've seen the plan for our Matariki Settlement as well.)

It may indeed raise public awareness of our dual cultural heritage here. On the other hand, as Moon writes:
"Hopefully Matariki will endure, if for no other reason than because it is an instructive part of our heritage, and is something unique to our country. But without greater attention to issues of historical and cultural accuracy, it could become yet another state-sponsored Trojan Horse for the Maori renaissance that never quite got through the gates."

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