Celebrating New Zealand’s first Matariki public holiday

Botany-based Labour list MP Naisi Chen says she’s proud the Government has delivered on its commitment to create a public holiday to celebrate Matariki. Photo Fred Locklear
  • By Naisi Chen, Labour List MP based in Botany

I’m really proud that we’ve delivered on Labour’s election commitment to establish a public holiday to celebrate Matariki.

For the first time this year, people here in east Auckland and across the country had the chance to enjoy a mid-winter holiday that is uniquely our own.

Matariki heralds the start of the Māori New Year and has increasingly become a time of celebration, not just for Māori, but for many people across New Zealand. By making Matariki a public holiday, we’re ensuring that everyone can spend this special time with friends and family.

We know that there are lots of benefits to public holidays and we’ve seen business leaders around the country noting that Matariki has provided a real boost to the tourism and hospitality sectors with lots of families taking mid-winter holidays.

Alongside New Zealand’s reputation for manaakitanga and being a beautiful place to visit, te ao Māori is another drawcard for international guests as it’s unique to Aotearoa.

Matariki is another great opportunity for us to share our country’s history and culture with the world. It’s a distinctly New Zealand moment and it makes for a distinctly New Zealand holiday where we can come together to pause, reflect and look to the future.

As New Zealand reconnects with the world, we’re seeing an increasing number of international visitors return, ready for an exhilarating Kiwi winter break with many planning to make the most of what is shaping up to be an outstanding ski season.

Since welcoming back Australian tourists recently, we’ve already seen an uptick in spending which is great news for businesses here in Auckland and this will only continue to grow from here.

Our work to make Matariki a public holiday was built around genuine respect for Matariki mātauranga, te ao Māori, and a strong commitment to the Māori/Crown relationship.

Marking Matariki with a public holiday is another step forward and one I’m proud this Government has taken as New Zealand continues to weave together different cultures to create our unique national identity.