Matariki victory belongs to all of us

People-powered change

ActionStation director Laura O’Connell Rapira and Labour MP Paul Eagle at the Matariki petition delivery. Photo by Nicole Hunt

On Monday 7 September, the New Zealand Labour Party confirmed they will make Matariki a public holiday in 2022 if they get re-elected.

The announcement follows the delivery of an ActionStation petition that was signed by almost 35,000 people calling for a Matariki public holiday.

Labour is the latest political party to come out in support of a Matariki public holiday. The Greens announced their support in July. The Māori Party have been advocating for a Matariki holiday since 2009.

In July, polling that was crowdfunded by ActionStation members showed that the majority of New Zealanders are in support of Matariki being made a public holiday. The idea is especially popular among young people, Māori and Asian New Zealanders.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Kelvin Davis have said that the government will work with a group of experts to determine the exact date of the holiday, but have confirmed that it will “always fall on a Friday or Monday during Matariki.”

Laura O’Connell Rapira, the director of ActionStation says, “While we are delighted about this announcement, we do have some concerns about Matariki being co-opted and commercialised. It’s important for the government to ensure how we commemorate Matariki is informed by Māori experts in the Maramataka, not just when.

“We’d love to see dedicated funding be made available to hapū, iwi and other kaupapa Māori organisations to host community events and education that help people better understand Matariki and its meaning.”

“This holiday has the potential to bring communities together from all backgrounds, to reconnect us with nature and each other.”



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