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Seven sparkling sisters arise

Seven Sisters, or Matariki. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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When the Pleiades star cluster, or seven sisters, comes clearly into view this week, many cultures consider it the time when a veil dividing the living from the dead is at its thinnest.

Over the coming week, many Wairarapa events are planned to celebrate the bright midwinter stars.

In the northern hemisphere, Halloween is held when the Pleiades stars are highest in the sky and the navigation paths, Pleiades, meaning to sail, are at their clearest.

Here in New Zealand, Samoan people call the star cluster Matali’i and in Maori culture it is called Matariki.

Traditionally, Maori consider this a time to think about loved ones who have died over the past year, to celebrate the present, and plan for the future.

It is the time to eat some of the summer harvest and to sow seeds in time for spring.

In one Maori tradition, Matariki is said to be a mother surrounded by her six daughters, Tupu-a-nuku, Tupu-a-rangi, Waiti, Waita, Waipuna-a-rangi, and Ururangi.

Aratoi is celebrating the star cluster with astrophotography.

Six Wellington and Wairarapa based artists are exhibiting their perspective of “the power and beauty of the night”.

The artists are: Glen Butler, Sharisse Eberlein, Mark Gee, Rebecca Kempton, Pete Monk, and John Whitby.

Masterton District Council is finalising plans and will announce events soon.

Fab Feathy is holding numerous events over the week.

From noon this Saturday it is holding a kite flying day with music and food at the former Featherston golf course.

Department of Conservation’s Jim Flack is holding a native tree planting working bee at South Wairarapa’s Buck’s Rd campsite this Saturday at 10am.

He is shouting a midwinter barbecue after the event.

Over the weekend, Featherston bookshops are encouraging people to collect a Matariki star from its seven bookshops and present them to SuperValue for a small prize.

Te Papa, Wellington, events begin with a ceremony to honour loved ones who died over the previous year and especially during the covid-19 pandemic.

At dawn yesterday, it had held a livestreamed karakia, He Hokinga Mahara, led by the Iwi in residence Rongowhakaata, and Mana Whenua iwi.

Te Papa Kaihautu Dr Arapata Hakiwai said Matariki was a time to look to our pakeke [elders] for wisdom, guidance, and aroha, particularly with overcoming adversity in light of current circumstances.

“This year, Matariki will give New Zealanders the opportunity to reflect on this unique time in history, and to acknowledge what the nation has overcome together over the past year,” he said.

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