Happy New Year, Winter Solstice, and Matariki!

MatarikiAt Earthsong:  A time to plant, and a time to rest and reflect…

Tanya and Yuki have planted a hundred garlic cloves in the Earthsong community garden for harvesting on midsummer day.  But with looming frosts and lots of rain, better to wait a month or two before planting most other crops outside.  Trays of seedlings nestle on our deck awaiting more benign weather…

We’ve heard a ruru calling from the native bush across the pond…

Time, now,  for us to enjoy some rest and reverie (a few days in Tongariro National Park) and some reflective Matariki events (theatre, music, reading and writing).

One of the best changes in Aotearoa over the last few years has been the blossoming of the Matariki Festival all over the country – a blending of traditional Maori rejoicing at the re-emergence of the Matariki star cluster (known all over the world, although by different names, such as the Pleiades, Subaru, the Seven Sisters…) in the pre-dawn sky, and the celebration of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, on 21 June in Aotearoa.

Today (Thursday 18thJune -official beginning of Matariki in the Auckland Council calendar) we had the pleasure for the first time of spending the morning at Hoani Waititi Marae, the West Auckland pan-tribal urban marae which was initiated by Peter Sharples  35 years ago.  Education is at the heart of Hoani Waititi – and it now supports two kohanga, a kura kaupapa and a wharekura; there are still dreams of a Whare Wananga.  Today’s hui brought together people working in community settings throughout the west of Auckland, and was graced by the presence of several kaumatua including Kahurangi June Mariu.

At Earthsong this weekend we’re celebrating winter solstice with a Winter Hui, focussing this year on whakawhanaungatanga and integrating the Treaty into our everyday lives; sessions will be facilitated by Waiora Pene-Hare, who lives here at Earthsong.  We’re making two hearty winter soups for lunch on Saturday – Beef, Barley and Broccoli, and Luscious Lively Lentil – to sustain participants.  Waiora has organised a hangi meal for all for Saturday night.

It will be a few weeks, though, before we see Matariki in the night sky – the Seven Sisters are still just above the horizon before dawn – and that horizon is behind the Waitakeres from Earthsong!



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