He wake eke noa – we are all in the waka together!

Jan Ozanne is Family Pastor at Ōtūmoetai Baptist Church. In this article read about how they celebrated Matariki in 2021 – it might give you some inspiration about how to celebrate at your place this year. To learn more about Matariki see Jo Hood and Elyse Stubbington’s article Matariki – a time to look beyond.

We decided to host an intergenerational social event where we could explore Matariki together. We gathered for dinner on Sunday evening; we sang a couple of waiata; we prayed karakia and we explored some questions. What is Matariki? What are the values of Matariki? How do these intersect with our faith? 

In the spirit of Kotahitanga, let’s create something together!

We created an opportunity for everyone to contribute to a communal piece of artwork, which represented some of the values of Matariki alongside scripture and parts of our church vision.  

Our artwork represents the values of Aroha (love and compassion, especially for those who are no longer with us), Kotahitanga (unity and relationships) and Manaakitanga (care for people and the land.) Together we created something meaningful that represented the whakataukī, he waka eke noa, we are all in the waka together.

We started with an empty sky, waka and landscape and finished with a night sky filled with stars (with the names of our loved ones who have passed on), a waka with lots of people in it (who represented each whānau) and the land filled with leaves and ferns (to show our care for God's creation.)

Matariki can be a significant celebration for everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The evening was a fun and significant way to bring the generations together at this important time of year in Aotearoa. And now that Matariki is a public holiday, we intend to make this a regular celebration for our faith community. This year we will need to rethink about when we have it - now that it is a long weekend, Sunday night will probably not work as well. We will also need to think of another idea for a work of art, around a different whakataukī.  Whatever we do, it will definitely feature whanaungatanga!

I would like to acknowledge mainly Ministries for inspiring us to celebrate Matariki.

Jan Ozanne is Family Pastor at Ōtūmoetai Baptist Church as well as Children and Family Ministry Coach for the Bay of Plenty and Eastland Baptist Association. Her contact details are here

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