Mayor Dave Cull is a guest speaker at the launch of the Puaka Matariki Festival at 5.00pm on Friday, 15 June at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.
Mayor Cull says the growth of the Festival over the past few years makes it an exciting addition to the city’s more established festivals.
"The Dunedin City Council recognises the significance of this time of year to local Māori and takes great pride in celebrating Māori New Year through the Puaka Matariki Festival. I myself really enjoyed the inclusiveness of last year’s festival, which featured events from a range of cultural backgrounds. This year’s lineup is looking even better!"
The launch will include kai, drinks and a performance by the Kings’ and Queens’ Kapa Haka group 'He Waka Kotuia'. Komene Cassidy, one of the group’s tutors, says the students are looking forward to performing at the launch, before they compete in Whangarei.
"We're fundraising to take He Waka Kotuia to the National Secondary School Kapa Haka Competition in Whangarei. This will be a huge opportunity for the group, made up of pupils from Kings’ and Queens’ High Schools, to experience a higher level of quality kapa haka than we have available to us in Dunedin. We are excited to be the first Dunedin group to compete at this event and look to use this experience to build our own strengths and skills in haka."
The Festival starts in earnest on Saturday, with activities at the Otago Museum during the day and the Port Chalmers Pioneer Hall Matariki Celebration from 5.00pm. A full list of events is available at www.matarikidunedin.co.nz/events.