Matariki 2017: Maori new year celebrated in Murray Bridge | VIDEO, PHOTOS

A traditional celebration from New Zealand has left its mark on Murray Bridge for the first time.

Members of the Maori Evangelical Church and the Kiwi community organised a family fun day on Sunday for Matariki, a time for singing, eating and reflection on the passage of time often referred to as the Maori new year.

Donated goods were given away as gifts, children enjoyed free entertainment and enough hangi, traditionally baked food, was cooked for all.

Church leader Hohaia Matthews said Matariki, the rising of the contellation known to Europeans as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters, was the start of the Maori year.

"It's a time when our people, our tupunas (ancestors) of old, used to plant by the moon and used to do all our fishing," he said.

"Our people, they didn't have a GPS, they had the stars, and they would do their planting of their kai (food) accordingly.”

It was also a day for remembrance, he said.

He led a minute's silence for whanau, or family members, who had left this world and "gone on to join the greater part of our people".

Organising committee chairperson Dawn Matthews said the Murray Bridge celebration was about coming together as a family, and providing a fun day out that would not cost a lot of money.

Church leaders also spoke at length in the Maori language, and Sean Weetra gave a welcome to country in Ngarrindjeri.


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