"The community of Parihaka are extending a welcome to the public to join in our upcoming Puanga celebrations. Puanga and the Maori New year is a way of paying respect to the unique place and land on which we all live" says Jean Hikaka, member of the Parihaka Puanga Kai Rau Festival Committee.
The festival takes place at the world-famous Taranaki village of Parihaka from 10th to 12th June 2016 and celebrates the rise of the star Puanga (Rigel) which marks the beginning of the new year.
"We start with a pōwhiri on Friday, 10th June 2016, at 5pm and will then light the Puanga fire. Early on Saturday, we will be able to watch Puanga rise in the East above mounga Taranaki at about 6am. The maara (garden) is the special and only feature of the morning as everybody can help harvest and prepare the soil for the next lot of crops" says Jean Hikaka.
"The afternoon and evening will consist of workshops, movies and six local bands taking the stage. Last year Shaskeen Reel got all the whānau up dancing with their Irish folk tunes, we’re looking forward to them this year. Other activities throughout the weekend include kids fun. Children can work with LED lights, compete in an “amazing race”, get physical with Zumba and complete a round of frizbee golf. There will be a café to purchase food from lunch to dinner."
In parts of Taranaki, Northland, the West Coast of Te Waipounamu and Rēkohu/Wharekauri, the Māori New Year is marked by the rise of Puanga.
The full programme is available here: http://www.puanga.com