Jan Ozanne is Family Pastor at Ōtūmoetai Baptist Church as well as Children and Family Ministry Coach for the Bay of Plenty and Eastland Baptist Association. Last year she shared with us how they celebrated Matariki in 2021 – as a way to inspire us about how we might celebrate within our own local churches. In this article we revisit Jan and her team at Ōtūmoetai to get another glimpse, this time into their 2022 Matariki experience. To learn more about Matariki see Jo Hood and Elyse Stubbington’s 2022 article Matariki – a time to look beyond, and Rachel and Tiaki talk Matariki: God, family, injustice and tradition.

An intergenerational celebration

In 2022, Ōtūmoetai Baptist Church hosted a successful intergenerational Matariki celebration. We gathered for dinner on the Friday night of the Matariki long weekend, starting with a waiata and karakia kai. After eating we had a simple presentation about Matariki. We played a short 4-minute video created by Jade Hohaia and the Wilberforce Foundation in which Lorinda Pereira, a Māori Christian woman, gives an explanation of what Matariki means to her and her whānau. You can watch that video here on YouTube.

Discussion about values

This led into a discussion about the values of Matariki, such as: Connecting with each other, reflecting on the past and remembering those who have died, thinking about the future, gratitude – being thankful for what God has given us.

Values summed up

Some of these values are summed up by these two whakatauki or proverbs.

“Matariki ahunga nui” [Matariki brings us together]

“Matariki whiria te tangata” [Matariki weaves the people together]

Communal response

After the presentation, we provided an opportunity for people to contribute to a communal piece of art. This year we provided wooden stars for people to decorate and write on. They were encouraged to write or draw one of the following: a verse, a prayer, a value, the name of someone who had died in the past year, something they were looking forward to or something they were grateful for. They then hung their stars from a large candle stand, creating a display representing each person and the values of Matariki.

We used hanging star kits from Mitre 10, plus we printed a few cardboard stars. If you can’t find (or can’t afford) wooden stars, you can definitely use cardboard and string.

It was a great night!

We had a wonderful night enjoying community, building relationships and celebrating Matariki.  This uniquely New Zealand holiday, really can weave us together! And as our Scripture says in Amos 5:8:

It is the Lord who created the stars, the Pleiades and Orion… The Lord is his name.

Rapua te kaihanga o nga whetu e whitu, ratou ko matariki… Ko Ihowa tona ingoa.

Thank you to alltogethernz for some great resources and images.

Photos: provided by Jan Ozanne

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