Excitement builds for Matariki hui

Members of Green Island School’s Te Kura o Okaihae senior kapa haka group are looking forward to...
Members of Green Island School’s Te Kura o Okaihae senior kapa haka group are looking forward to the Matariki Whanau Hui at Dunedin City Baptist Church next weekend. Pictured (from left) are Iris Telfer (11), Jasmine Wall (11), Bailey-Ray Williams-Chapman (12), tutor Ana Pene, Leo Hemopo (11), Cody TeNgahue (13), and Ollie Warrington (11). PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Green Island School senior kapa haka group Te Kura o Okaihae is buzzing with excitement before next weekend’s Matariki Whanau Hui at Dunedin City Baptist Church (DCBC).

The group of 11 to 13-year-olds will be among several featured groups during the hui, including King’s and Queen’s High Schools He Waka Kotuia kapa haka group, and Concord School, at the large-scale community event, to be held next Saturday, July 3, at the DCBC centre in Concord.

Green Island School kapa haka tutor Ana Pene said the group would perform three songs, including the school song and haka, and were practising hard for the occasion.

"They are a very committed group — the passion comes from deep inside when they perform," Ms Pene said.

The inaugural DCBC Matariki Whanau Hui is being organised by the church’s children’s programmes co-ordinator Jen Crump and ministry support Zoie Kupanga in the spirit of bringing the community together to learn and celebrate.

The event is part of Dunedin’s Puaka Matariki Festival, which marks the seasonal rising of the constellations Matariki (Pleiades) and Tautoru (Orion), and the stars Puaka (Rigel) and Takurua (Sirius).

Ms Crump said preparing for the hui had been "a great learning experience".

"We hope that it will bring our church community, friends, and neighbours together to learn about and celebrate Maori culture," she said.

Mrs Kupanga said DCBC was working to to incorporate more Maori tikanga into its activities, and the Matariki Whanau Hui was a great opportunity to learn more.

"We are emulating tikanga by gathering people together.

"It is also a chance to share our lovely, large space at DCBC with the community," she said.

The Matariki Whanau Hui will run from 3pm to 6pm, on July 3, and people are encouraged to come at the start for the mihi whakatau (welcome), and to experience the kapa haka and waiata.

MCs for the event will be Richard Kupanga and Jay Cooper, and guest speaker Cindy Kerr will discuss what Matariki means to her.

Visitors will also be able to experience the "Ako (Learning) Street" at the church, where there will be workshops in lantern making, weaving, kite making, star crafts, and musical instruments.

The Otago Museum Star Lab team will also be on hand with a 20-minute star show and explanation of the night sky.

As darkness falls, families will take part in a Matariki light and lantern parade.

Entry to the event is free, although koha (of food or money) is requested for Dunedin foodbanks.

People are also requested to RSVP via the DCBC facebook page, or Puaka Matariki Festival page, so rough numbers can be gauged for catering.

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