By: Lindi Rule, Quality Kaiwhakahaere (Manager)
What is Matariki?
Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter and for many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year.
Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). According to myth, when Ranginui (the sky father) and Papatūānuku (the earth mother) were separated by their children, Tāwhirimātea (the god of the winds), became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.
Traditionally, Matariki was a time to remember those who had died in the last year. But it was also a happy event – crops had been harvested and seafood and birds had been collected. With plenty of food in the storehouses, Matariki was a time for singing, dancing and feasting.
In true festive spirit our TPO whānau travelled from Motueka and Whakatū to the Wairau whare on Wednesday 11th of July. The heat was on due to the Management Team based in Waimeha, holding the overall award from the previous year. The Motueka, Wairau and Whakatu whānau were determined to take down the Management team…
This year it was decided the theme was Tāhuhu (Gardening). The wero (challenge) was for each whare to produce a miniature garden, a vegetable/fruit animal and to make a manu aute (kite). The whanau arrived about 10am and there was a mihi whakatau (welcome), for kaimahi (staff) who had not been into the whare before.
Following this the respective teams got their garden and animal displays organised in preparation for judging. Judges were chosen with the technical ‘name in a hat’ system. A kaimahi from each whare made up the judging panel. Each whare nominated a kaikōrero (speaker) to give the whakapapa of their displays. Whakatū brought river rocks to represent where they had come from and were distributed to the Tumuaki and Ngā Pūkenga Kaiwhakahaere.
There was a bit of argy bargy and bribery tactics during the judging, but judges stood strong and formed a solid alliance against the heckling from the majority. The suspense was intense however the results were not to be revealed until after the final challenge.
Everyone headed over the bridge to the Clubs of Marlborough for our buffet lunch. Kai (food) and kōrero was enjoyed by all. The Wairau whānau had made a koha for each kaimahi to take away. Ngā mihi (thanks) to Margy Crosby for the potted kowhai trees and Ala Ward for the weaved whetu (star).
Following lunch kite flyers were nominated from each whare to run along the river bank and test the flying ability of their handmade kites. Whakatū had success with their kite getting it up off the ground. The other whare looked like they were walking their dogs… Loud laughter of this event distracted the poor council workers trying to go about their business.
To solidify the day’s events the river rocks were simultaneously thrown into the Taylor River by the Tumuaki and Ngā Kaiwhakahaere. These rocks were taken from further up the Taylor river and is our symbol of new beginnings at Matariki. This was to represent us all working together to strive towards our moemoeā and to be mindful that we launch out into the unknown.
We headed back upstairs refreshed from our outdoor activity. Time to use our brains for the Matariki quiz. Again, there was a lot of yahooing and shenanigans during this however Wairau team dominated and took this out.
After draining the brain, Margy and Brenda encouraged all kaimahi into a Noho Pakari (sit and be fit) session. This was just what was needed after the lovey kai that had been devoured. Of course, the build up to the final judge’s decisions was on everyone’s minds.
After the hustle and bustle of physical activity, it was time for some presentations. Whakatū had made a beautiful waiata pukapuka (song book), which they had printed copies for all kaimahi and gifted to each whare. Ngā mihi. Anne made some presentations to kaimahi that had stood out over the last year. Some tears were shed in surprise by some of these kaimahi. Tino pai to mahi, very good work.
The tension and rivalry could be felt by all as the judges lined up. And the awards went to:
Miniature garden – Motueka
Vegetable/fruit animal – Whakatū
Kite flying – Whakatū
Quiz – Wairau
Overall – Whakatū
Note: Most kaimahi were secretly happy that the reigning champs didn’t win anything 😊.
Reply from Waimeha hub/reigning champs “We intentionally did not try to win anything. We loved spreading cheer and giving the other hubs a chance.” 😊
Ngā mihi to the TPO Board for enabling us to celebrate Matariki. Watch this space as Whakatū are now the target for next year. Over and out for now…