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New Public Holiday Recognising Matariki

One of Labour’s election promises was to introduce a new public holiday, from 2022, to recognise Matariki.

Professor Rangiānehu Matamua, chair of the Matariki Advisory Group, said iwi observe Matariki in varying ways.  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “Matariki will be a distinctly New Zealand holiday; a time for reflection and celebration, and our first public holiday that recognises Te Ao Māori,”.  She added “This will be a day to acknowledge our nation’s unique, shared identity, and the importance of tikanga Māori. It’s going to be something very special, and something uniquely New Zealand.”

The rising of Matariki, or the star cluster known as Pleiades, usually occurs near the end of June and the beginning of July, marking the start of the Māori New Year.

The timing of the holiday will change from year to year but is expected to always fall on a Monday or Friday. However, the Prime Minister has announced that Matariki will be recognised on Friday 24 June in 2022 and the Matariki Advisory Group will provide advice on future dates of the public holiday (i.e. dates for the next 30 years).  They will also advise on how Matariki should be celebrated and will support the development of resources to educate the public on Matariki and the celebrations.

With the Matariki holiday, New Zealand will have 12 public holidays.  Legislation will be introduced later in 2021 to amend the Holidays Act.

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