All are welcome to the Matariki Dawn Karakia at Arataki Visitor Centre to commemorate those who have passed, acknowledge those who remain and bless the New Year with karanga (call), the sounds of ancient karakia, waiata and a haka composed specifically to mark this special occasion.
The Matariki Dawn Karakia will open Matariki Festival 2018 and is sure to be a festival highlight.
There are many karakia, or blessings, for different occasions but they generally take place at a ceremony or meeting to increase spiritual goodwill and improve the prospect of a positive outcome.
Māori seek the protection and guidance of the spiritual world through karakia and ritual due to the belief that spiritual forces such as tapu (sacred), mana (power) and mauri (life force) are everywhere.
Karakia typically involves local kaumātua (Māori elders) delivering ancient karakia and waiata (song).
What to expect at the Matariki Dawn Karakia
On Saturday 30 June, manuhiri (guests), including mana whenua iwi and members of the public, will gather outside the Education Centre at Arataki Visitor Centre at 6am. An older woman from Te Kawerau a Maki will perform a karanga (call) to the manuhiri. This is when the visitors start moving on to the centre grounds.
A woman from among the visitors will send a call of response and acknowledgement. Visitors will walk toward the building as a group, slowly and silently, with the women in front of the men – pausing along the way to remember their ancestors who have passed on.
Once in position, the guests and hosts sit down facing each other. When they are all seated, the karakia will commence. Following the karakia, speeches are made and a song is sung after each speaker to support their address.
To finish the ceremony, visitors and hosts greet each other with a hongi (the ceremonial touching of noses). At the completion of the hongi, an elder of Te Kawerau a Maki will introduce a haka that has been composed specifically to mark this occasion. The haka will then be performed by a group of 150-200 people.
After the haka there will be a light breakfast, entertainment and the opportunity to learn more about Te Kawerau a Maki history and stories.
Make a day of it
Following the Matariki Dawn Karakia, stick around the Arataki Visitor Centre for Whānau Day. There will be lots to see and do, including local performers, a sampling of local kai, markets, family activities and more. Open for all to enjoy and experience, don’t miss this special day and beautiful location overlooking the Waitākere Ranges.
You can also drop by the exhibition, Ngā Tohu o Te Kawerau a Maki: The people, their stories and treasures, at Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery, opening at 10am on 30 June. Te Kawerau a Maki present a collection of images of tūpuna (forebears) and taonga (treasures) to remember and celebrate their heritage as they work toward a better future.
Everyone is welcome to join the Matariki Dawn Karakia, 6am-9.30am, Saturday 30 June at Arataki Visitor Centre, 300 Scenic Drive, Titirangi.
All parking at 233 Scenic Drive, with free shuttles to and from Arataki Visitor Centre. Wear warm clothes.
Matariki Festival is proudly hosted by Auckland Council in partnership with iwi manaaki Te Kawerau a Maki with the help of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and Vector Lights (principal partners), AMI Insurance (supporting partner), SKYCITY, Huawei P20 and Te Matatini Kapa Haka Aotearoa (supporters) and Mai FM (media partner).