A host of free events are scheduled at Te Kōputu a te whanga a Toi – the Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre – to mark Matariki.

Matariki, literally “the eyes of god”, is the cluster of stars known as Pleiades and rises in June or July. For Māori, it heralds the start of the new year, and to celebrate this, Te Kōputu has something for all the family to enjoy, beginning with a series of historical documentaries about local people, places or events. Sourced from the NZ On Screen Matariki Collection, the documentaries will screen daily (except weekends) from Monday 19 June to Tuesday 27 June from 10:30am to 11:30am. Sessions are no more than 50 minutes long; to find out more about the documentaries people can pick up a flyer from the library or follow this link https:// whakatane.com/matariki/local-documentaries.

Also on 27 June, you can join the Celestial Kōrero: Matariki ki Ōtarawairere Road Lookout at 6am and hear Matua Patrick weave an early-morning story about Kapu-te-rangi, Toi and the stars in the heavens. A bus has been arranged and will depart the Whakatāne Library at 6am for a 6.30am start at Ōtarawairere Road Lookout, but places on the bus are limited, so anyone who would like to take part is asked to register as soon as possible. Parking at the lookout is limited, but interested people can also meet-up with the group there.

Warm clothing, suitable footwear and a torch are recommended. Following the celestial talk, a cup of soup and scones will be available in Te Kōputu from 7:30am until 8am.

And for something the whole family can enjoy, come along to Te Kōputu at 5:30pm on Wednesday 28 June for a Matariki puppet show, which tells the story of Ranginui (sky father) and Papatūānuku (earth mother) and a modern tale of the cycle of life. Around 20 colourful puppets and props are involved in the show, and to add to the ambience and the origins of tribal storytelling, this event starts after dark.

For more information, please contact staff at the Whakatāne District Libraries.

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