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Dingwall Trust acknowledged and celebrated the first Matariki Day by planting a life-giving native pūriri tree.  Maori have celebrated Matariki – Maori New Year – for hundreds of years, but it’s now an official national holiday in Aotearoa!

Matariki occurs when the star cluster first appears above the horizon in the dawn sky, heralding the beginning of a New Year. Tamariki, rangatahi and staff at Dingwall honoured this occasion with a special ceremony to plant the new pūriri tree.

Apotoro Shannon Wilson blessed the pūriri and its planting. Residential manager Nic Dunlop turned the first piece of earth, followed by many who took turns to dig.

Hopes and dreams

Once dug, tamariki placed whakatauki (proverbs) they had chosen in the hole to feed the new specimen. Matariki is a time to reflect on the past, in particular, to remember those who passed away within the year. But it is also a time to look to the future, make plans, goals and positive affirmations for the future. The whakatauki represent the hopes and dreams of tamariki and rangatahi for the 12 months ahead.

Dingwall Kaiārahi Rau Rountree led the ceremony and explained that planting the pūriri is the beginning of a new tradition. The community garden will this year be planted with crops according to the Maori lunar gardening calendar. All going well, crops will be harvested next year in time for a 2023 Matariki feast.

Tamariki also got to learn about the significance of all nine stars in the Matariki cluster and took part in celestial artwork. Of course, shared kai was also an important part of the occasion.

Dingwall Trust acknowledged and celebrated this new opportunity for Aotearoa to have a time and space unique to and in honour of tāngata whenua. It’s a time for all in this country to embrace traditions and kaupapa that bring people together to reflect, acknowledge and grow.

Find out more about our health and wellbeing programme and community garden here

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