Paora Mackie (left) and Kiley Nepia sound the conch shells at the beginning of Matariki celebrations at Wairau Bar, Marlborough, in 2009. Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades constellation. The first moon after the constellation appears in southern skies, usually in May or June, heralds the Māori New Year. In the 2000s it was common for both Māori and Pākehā to celebrate Matariki, and there were suggestions that it should be marked by a public holiday. However, a bill introduced to Parliament in 2009 failed to get political support.
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Photograph by Scott Hammond
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