Labour will make Matariki a public holiday

As New Zealanders we are proud of who we are, what we stand for, and the way we weave together different worlds and cultures to create our unique national identity.

Te Ao Māori plays a large part in not just defining who we are as a nation, but in setting us apart from the rest of the world. Te Ao Māori belongs only here in Aotearoa.

This is why, if re-elected this October, we’ll make Matariki New Zealand’s 12th public holiday, beginning in 2022.

Māori and non-Māori New Zealanders across the country have been calling for this mid-winter moment, and Labour have listened. It’s time has come.

During Matariki  we all come together for festivals, local events, balls and dinners to mark  the Māori New Year.

It’s a distinctly New Zealand moment - and it will make for a distinctly New Zealand holiday where we can come together to reflect, celebrate and plan for the future.  

A little history

Matariki heralds the start of the Māori New Year and has now become a time of celebration not just for Māori but for many New Zealanders across Aotearoa.

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades that rises in mid-winter and can mean the "eyes of god" or "tiny eyes". There are different stories about Matariki, but one Māori myth is that when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were separated by their children, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens – creating Matariki.

Over recent years, we’ve seen Matariki celebrations grow and this will give Māori across the country a chance to share their unique traditions, history and stories with the rest of New Zealand.

This announcement builds on the Government’s track record this term of elevating the status of our history and Māori culture, including, making New Zealand history compulsory in schools, support for land wars commemoration and unveiling a statue to acknowledge Dame Whina Cooper.

The details

We will make Matariki a public holiday in 2022. A group of experts will help determine an exact date for the winter holiday but we expect it will always fall on a Monday or a Friday within Matariki.

By waiting till 2022, we also give businesses time to prepare and recover from the immediate impacts of COVID-19.

Our tourism operators across New Zealand have also been calling for more public holidays to boost domestic tourism, and we see Matariki as an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our history to the world. This is why we will work with Māori businesses to use Matariki as a tool to connect with international businesses and share our unique offerings to the world in years to come. 

Do you support Matariki becoming our 12th public holiday? Show your support on Election Day with two ticks for Labour.

Want to know more about Labour’s policies? Head here to find all the information you need to cast your vote on 17th October.

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