Celebrate Puanga in Whakaahurangi
Nau mai haere mai ki a Puanga ki te tau hau Māori. Welcome Puanga! You’re invited to reflect, learn, share and celebrate Puanga right here in Stratford.
This is the fourth year Stratford District Council (SDC) has acknowledged Puanga (Matariki for elsewhere in New Zealand) with free activities for the whole community.
Community Services Director Kate Whareaitu says, “This is a special time of year, it’s when we can reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the next.”
“With it being the first year that the Government has officially recognised the Māori New Year with a public holiday, we wanted to make sure that we gave our community an opportunity to learn and get involved with celebrations locally. We’ve made some exciting additions to our annual events.”
“On Thursday 23 June we’re kicking off the long weekend with our ‘Starry Night’ event – a spectacular celebration in Prospero Place that will include lighting displays, entertainment, kōrero, face painting and more,” says Ms Whareaitu. “Prospero Place will be turned in to a wonderland for people of all ages, so you won’t want to miss it.”
Stratford’s Puanga rākau (tree) will continue to be at the centre of these celebrations. “For those who aren’t aware, it’s an opportunity to participate in our reflections and aspirations activity, a huge part of the kaupapa of this time of year, and can be found in the Percy Thomson Gallery foyer from 13 June 2022,” says Ms Whareaitu.
There will be Library based activities for tamariki and their parents/guardians from 22 June, and a new activity for whānau to do together in Victoria Park from 20 June - a StoryWalk® using the pukapuka (book) The Promise of Puanga by Kirsty Wadsworth. Kirsty will also be in town on 25 June to do a reading of her book at the Library.
That same day, Saturday 25 June, the Prospero Market will be on from 9am to 12noon and will include an opportunity for people to learn weaving and traditional Māori games from local Māori Women’s Welfare League representatives.
“We also ran our annual Puanga flag competition during May and were extremely impressed by the entries received,” said Ms Whareaitu.
“Our flag competition asks tamariki and rangatahi to show us what Puanga means to them. All the entries will be on display at the Library and Visitor Information Centre in Prospero Place. The winning flags will be turned into street flags and flown down Broadway during the celebrations,” she says.
SDC thanks Whaakahurangi Marae, Māori Womens Welfare League and Toi Foundation for their continued support with this community celebration.
What’s on for Puanga in Whakaahurangi, Stratford?
- 13 June to 26 June: Puanga rākau reflections and aspirations activity in Percy Thomson Gallery, Prospero Place. Write down your burdens or the names of loved ones you’ve lost in the past year by 23 June and these will be burned as part of our ‘Starry Night’ event, and hang your aspirations and goals for the year ahead on our rākau.
- 20 June to July School Holidays: Check out the Promise of Puanga StoryWalk® in Victoria Park.
- 22 June & 23 June: Enjoy story time at the Stratford Library and Visitor Information Centre at 9.30am on Wednesday 22 June 2022 and participate in craft activity on Thursday 23 June at our ‘Starry Night’ event
- 23 June 5pm to 8pm: Puanga ‘Starry Night’ event – a spectacular celebration in Prospero Place that will include lighting displays, performances by Unity Wara, Fire and Flow, storytelling, glow face painting and more.
- 23 June to 26 June: Puanga ‘Starry Night’ on display in Prospero Place
- Saturday 25 June: Prospero Market 9am to 12noon (stalls, wānanga, facepainting for the kids and entertainment) and at 10.00am in the Library and Visitor Information Centre Kirsty Wadsworth and her husband will be doing a reading of her book, The Promise of Puanga.