Matariki Māori New Year is a special time of year that we all look forward to and is a greatly anticipated event. As part of our celebrations we recently held Mairtown’s annual Harvest day. This is such a lovely day of sharing any abundance produce, preserves, pickles or home baking with others.
For Māori in years gone by Matariki symbolises the time for planting and harvesting. The Matariki star constellation marked a time for starting all things new, this was a particularly important period for new crops to be planted and the preserving of old crops to be finished. The timing of Matariki fell at the end of a harvest and food stores were full. Meat, fruits, herbs and vegetables had been gathered and preserved and the migration of certain fish ensured a great period of feasts. Matariki was seen as a time to share with each other, for family and friends to come together and share in the gifts that the land and sea had provided for them. (Tai Tokerau Tourism)
Ngā kai o Matariki nāna i ao ake ki runga
Matariki scoops up the food
We are so fortunate to live in Northland where there are plenty of citrus trees, and other produce. That’s the great thing about Harvest day, it is an opportunity to share abundance with others and exchange for something else. The focus of Mairtown’s Harvest Day is about sharing our abundance, random acts of kindness and nurturing the body and soul of our community.
Our parents and whānau were invited to bring an item to share from their garden or pantry. On Tuesday morning it was exciting to see our children bring in their offerings and place them on the exchange table. The gifts included citrus, avocados, tamarillos, persimmons, apples, kumara, pumpkin, eggs, home baking, pickles, jams, herbs and vegetables.
At the end of session our tamariki were invited to choose something from the harvest table to take home. It was lovely to see our tamariki so excited and full of anticipation as some had been looking at the offerings throughout the day and had clearly made a decision of what they wanted to take home and for others the choice was a little tricky.
Thank you to all our whānau for your offerings that made our annual Harvest day so enjoyable and successful.
Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi
With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive