About $22,000 is available
for organisations in the Dunedin area wanting to participate
in this year's Maori new year celebrations.
Puaka Matariki Festival co-ordinator Antony Deaker said
funding applications for the festival (June 15 to July 13)
opened last month and would close on April 17.
An estimated 16,000 people attended or participated in last
year's 117 events held across the city - from Mosgiel to Port
Chalmers and Karitane.
Mr Deaker said in traditional times, different iwi observed
the rising of Puaka or the Matariki stars to denote the
beginning of the Maori new year.
''Puaka is the principal star of Ngai Tahu.
''The nature of its rising in midwinter would foretell the
The Maori new year was celebrated at the first new moon after
the rising of Matariki or Puaka, which would be June 28 this
year, he said.
Since the festival was established in 2009, it had grown to
the stage where it operated on three levels, he said.
''It includes real grass-roots events where the local
community will come together at their local hall, schools,
kohanga and kindergartens to share activities like lantern
parades, hangi and story telling,'' Mr Deaker said.
''Then many local Maori organisations put on annual events,
and local institutions like the ecosanctuary, museums and the
Dunedin observatory run public programmes to celebrate Puaka
''We are also seeing the presentation of top-quality
contemporary and traditional Maori performing arts.''
Mr Deaker said the festival was fortunate last year to
attract Te Waka Huia, which recently won the National Te
Matatini Kapa Haka championship, and the Okareka Dance
Company, which filled the Regent Theatre for its contemporary
It was hoped this year's festival would attract just as many
people and participants.