Hindu Elders Foundation, a division of Hindu Council of New Zealand, celebrated Matariki 2010 at the Hindu Heritage Centre, Auckland June 27.
Almost 100 Hindu Elders, guests and a number of Maori Elders (Kaumatua) from various Marae participated in this celebration. Maori guests included Dennis Henson (Hoani Waititi Marae), Harold Atkinson and Bubbles Munroe (Ngati Kahungunu).
The ceremony started with the traditional Hindu way of lighting of the lamp by the invited guests and members of Hindu Elders, followed by a Hindu prayer to Lord Ganesha. Mr Henson and Ms Munroe did the karakia.
Young children and youth from a Samoan Church group, who have regular services at Hindu Heritage Centre, sang and performed a drama depicting the Love of God. Mr Henson recited a Maori prayer which was repeated by the Hindu Elders.
“During Matariki we celebrate our unique place in the world. We give respect and admiration to our mother earth Papatuanuku. Throughout Matariki we learn about those who came before us. Matariki signals growth. It is a time of change. It is a time to prepare, and a time of action. Matariki celebrates the diversity of life. It is a celebration of culture, language, spirit and people, Matariki is our Aotearoa Pacific New Year”. This was what Pravin Patel, patron of Hindu Elders Foundation, said while speaking about Matariki in Maori language.
He also elaborated on similarities of the beliefs of the Maori and the Hindu from the Social Anthropology and Sociology studies conducted by a migrant, and comparison on Maori and Hindu worship of God.
Harold Atkinson spoke on the significance of Matariki. For the Maori of New Zealand, Matariki is the celestial signal of an ending and a beginning. The New Year is marked by the next moon after the appearance Matariki. Matariki was also a time of ceremonial offering to the land gods Rongo and Uenuku in the hope of a good harvest in the New Year to come. As Matariki appears in the middle of the winter at a time when all crops have been harvested, it was an important signal to the Maori people that they needed to be prepared with sufficient preserved food stocks to last them through to the next harvest.
A short documentary video on Matariki was shown to give a better understanding of the Stars of Matariki.
Ramesh Patel, a Hindu elder, led the people into laughter yoga and other yoga exercises. This was followed by Garba (an Indian folk dance) where all participated and had great fun.
A small group of people together with our Maori guest went and planted seedlings in the Winter Gardens, an initiative by the Counties Manukau for the Let’s Beat Diabetes Project.
Aotearoa Research Organisation for Generic Yoga and Ayurveda (AROGYA) announced the commencement of Yoga classes at the Hindu Heritage Centre. The announcement was made at this occasion to get the blessings of both Maori and Hindu Elders for the success of Yoga classes.
A prayer before having a sumptuous lunch was recited in Maori language and in Sanskrit. Everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by a team from the Hindu Niwas, a new initiative at the Hindu Heritage Centre giving accommodation services for respite caregivers and others.
“Hindu Council of New Zealand has been organising Matariki celebrations for the past four years in Auckland. We plan to organise in other cities in coming years.”