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Lanterns for loved ones at lake

Personalised lanterns will light up Henley Lake for Matariki. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Emily Ireland

Celebrating family, and remembering loved ones is the essence of this year’s Matariki celebrations to be held at Henley Lake on Saturday.

Wairarapa Matariki Waiwhetu: Stars at the Lake is a free community event organised by Ngati Kahungunu.

It will feature entertainment, a photo booth, kapa haka, ta moko stamps, and a remembrance lantern ceremony on the lake.

Event organiser Tiraumaera Te Tau said she was really looking forward to this year’s event – especially after bad weather impacted on the success of last year’s.

“This event is here to celebrate the past year and bring in the new one,” she said.

“With the lantern ceremony, we can put all our well wishes and tributes to our whanau we may have lost throughout the year, and we’ll release them on to the lake with the help of the local waka ama.

“They’ll also collect them at the end of the evening.”

She said the ceremony could be “quite an emotional experience for some people”.

“It’s about looking back to move forward; celebrating our whanau, the Maori New Year, the previous year, and paying tribute to those that we’ve loved and lost.”

Te Tau said the Maori New Year was “based around the stars”.

“We traditionally would be doing our crops, bringing in the harvest and settling into the winter.

“The belief is also that the stars bring the waka down, and they would collect the souls of those who had died.

“Then they pick them up in the net and bring them back up to the stars again.

“This is the whole significance of having our lantern ceremony.”

She advised people to wrap up warm for the event, which begins at 4pm on Saturday.

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