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New Zealand celebrates Maori New Year as an official holiday for the first time

For the first time, New Zealanders celebrate Matariki as an official public holiday on June 24th. The celebration is known as the Maori New Year, writes CNN.

Matariki is the name of the cluster of stars, also known as the Pleiades, whose rising is considered by many of the country’s natives to be the start of a new year.

In a statement, the New Zealand government noted that it was “the first public holiday to recognize Te Ao Māori” or the Māori worldview. The official holiday was established in April with the passage of the Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holidays Law.

Matariki is a time for honoring the ancestors, celebrating the present, getting together to give thanks.

The New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has released several videos about Matariki and the timing of the national holiday.

Maori, who make up about 15% of New Zealand’s population, lost most of their land during the British colonization of the country. In recent years, thousands of Maori have protested for civil and social rights and criticized governments for failing to address social and economic inequalities.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern introduced a new curriculum with compulsory teaching of Maori history and British colonialism.

In November 2020, Ardern also appointed Nanaya Mahutu as Minister of Foreign Affairs. She became the first Indigenous woman to hold the post.

Source From: MK

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