From the Taranaki Daily News (Deena Coster, 8th June 2015)
A festival to mark the beginning of the Maori New Year in Taranaki begins on Friday.
The Parihaka Puanga Kai Rau Festival is not only a chance to celebrate the rising of the Puanga star, but also an opportunity to honour the ancestors connected to one of the region's most historical places.
"Each year we remember our ancestors and the effort they put into keeping the gardens going at Parihaka," organiser Maata Wharehoka said.
Wharehoka said Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi, leaders of the peaceful resistance movement against confiscation of Maori land in the 1860s, used the gardens as a way to nurture hope among the whanau who lived at the settlement at the time.
Wharehoka said the festival was also about new beginnings and a time to prepare for the year ahead.
Following the lighting of the traditional fire on Friday night, a day-long list of activities are planned for Saturday, starting off with a karanga to Puanga at 5am.
This will be followed by a working bee and then a series of workshops in the afternoon.
Based at Toroanui Marae, the celebrations also include live music and entertainment for the children along with a screening of Tatarakihi - The Children of Parihaka.
In other areas around New Zealand, celebrations for Maori New Year are often referred to as Matariki. The star constellation was used historically for navigational purposes and provided a sign to people to prepare the soil for planting.
For updated information about the festival visit Parihaka Puanga Kai Rau on Facebook.
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