Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Book Review : Puanga, star of the Maori New Year


Puanga, star of the Māori New Year = Ko Puanga-nui-ā-rangi te whetū mātāmua o te tau hou Māori : nānā i ārahi i ā Matariki tana tuahine tō muri iho / Sam Rerekura  B.Ed, Dip. Tchg, Dip. Film & TV Cert. Tertiary Tchg Director, Te Whare Wananga o Nga Puhi-nui-tonu

"Puanga is the star Rigel in Orion. Most of the tribes of the Māori people in Aotearoa observed Puanga to mark the beginning of the Māori New Year. In Māori mythology he was believed to be the older brother of Matariki. His cosmic rising between May and June in the early morning sky signalled the beginning of winter. Which is why Māori knew him as the foremost winter star. A practical reason why Māori marked the New Year at this particular time of the year was because Puanga's heliacal rising coincided with the end of the harvest where the first fruits were eaten during a three-day festival of lights. The religious reason why Māori began the New Year in May-June was because it was the only time in the year when all the most significant stars important in Māori mythology rose at the same time at dawn. The kumara had been lifted, pigeons were being stored away in calabash containers and shark had been hung out to dry ready for the winter months. The New Year was a sacred time for Māori when offerings were made to Puanga and laid out by the tohunga priesthood on taahu altar shrines as a gesture of thanksgiving"   Summary from Pg 4.

The author has dedicated this book to his old professor Dr Bruce Biggs, who enhanced his ability to translate better and increase his analytical skills when studying Maori oral literature.

This book is well researched and written with many fabulous illustrations including photographs of Maori life in times past and is the most in depth history of Matariki available and includes the traditions around cultivating and harvesting by the stars, he also includes whakapapa.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Matariki Celebrations in Rotorua

Te Matariki (the Pleiades)

"Every year in the winter sky just before dawn, Matariki signals the Maori New Year. Traditionally, it was a time for remembering the dead, and celebrating new life" from : Te Taiao Maori and the natural world. Edited by Jennifer Garlick, Basil Keane and Tracey Borgfeldt.

Te Ara : encyclopedia of New Zealand  click this link to learn more.

Papers Past Papers Past contains more than three million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection covers the years 1839 to 1948 and includes 117 publications from all regions of New Zealand.

The following is an excerpt from N.Z. Illustrated Magazine, 1 February 1900 by John St Clair. from Papers Past.

"The tohunga knows, but will not name, the sacred whetu (star) in Te Matariki (the Pleiades), which is the source of life and movement of our planetary system, and round which the sun is circling. He has completely mapped out the stars, and can tell by the positions of certain of them what sort of season it will be when to plant to avoid floods and drought. Puanga (Rigal) tells him much of this, also Rehua (the dog star), the same dog star of which Horace sings that it is hateful to the husband-man"

Rotorua District Library is running a Poster Competition, Kite Making and Flying and a Fashion Show to celebrate Matariki 2015.

The Rotorua Lakes Council staff has organised a  great month of events see the calendar here

Monday, 8 June 2015

Royal Tourists in Rotorua from times past

Royal Tourist Attraction History : a brief account

The very first Royal visitor to Rotorua took place in Dec 1870 when the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Alfred arrived as part of his tour to New Zealand. 

Followed by The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York in June of 1901 

The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York at Rotorua during their visit to New Zealand. 
Ref: 1/2-092091-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand

During their visit they were welcomed by a large party of Maori who had come from all parts of New Zealand for the purpose, (some 5,000 in all), the weather did not co-operate so they all stood in the falling rain to welcome the Duke as he arrived by train on Thursday the 13th of June 1901 at 4.30 p.m.

"In the enclosure within the railway gates were the Principal Chiefs of Maoridom, Behind the men were the Wairarapa Mounted Rifles, the mounted corps of Te Puke, Whakatane and Tauranga, with Captain Barron's Rotorua in front forming the guard of honour." 1

The couple and their entourage stayed at the Grand Hotel on Fenton Street upon arriving there, they were treated to another demonstration of welcome, "upwards of a hundred chiefs, headed by the Native Minister, the Hon. James Carroll," 2

On the second day of their visit the storm which had heralded their arrival had finally blown over and they were able to visit Ohinemutu, Whakarewarewa and Tikitere.3

On the third day of their visit a "Grand Carnival of Tribes"4. took place at the racecourse, it must have been an unusual gathering of all the tribes together performing Poi, Haka and Peruperu to entertain the Royals.

References : Royalty in New Zealand : visit of Their Royal highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, 1901. by R.A. Loughnan. 1. Page 77 ; 2. Page 79 ; 3. Page 83 ; 4. Page 101.
The full account of all that happened on that tour is available to read from the Don Stafford Heritage Collection on the 2nd floor.

Other Royal visits include :

  • Edward, Prince of Wales and Countess of Liverpool in April of 1920 where he unveiled the Arawa Tribes War Memorial in the Government Gardens.

Edward Prince of Wales visiting Rotorua, New Zealand. Creator unknown: 
Photographs of visit of Prince of Wales to New Zealand. 
Ref: PAColl-9163-05. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

  • Duke and Duchess of York in February of 1927
  • Prince Takamatsu of Japan in August of 1928.
  • His Royal Highness, Prince Consort to Queen Salote, Prince Tungi and Crown Prince Taufa'ahau of Tonga in December of 1932.
  • Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester in December of 1934

Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, meeting Maori dignataries in Rotorua during 
his visit to New Zealand. New Zealand Free Lance : Photographic prints and negatives. 
Ref: PAColl-8983-17. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

  • Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Tour in January of 1954. 
  • King Bhumibol & Queen Sirikit of Thailand in August of 1962.
  • Elizabeth, Queen, Consort of George VI, King of Great Britain in April of 1966

Cover of the Rotorua Photonews, 4 June 1966

  • Prince Charles and Princess Anne in March of 1970
  • Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, with Prince Charles in February of 1974
  • Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh in February of 1977 for the Queen's Silver Jubilee Tour.
  • Duke and Duchess of Kent in November of 1980.
  • Princess Mele Siu`ilikutapu Kalaniuvalu Fotofili of Tonga in June of 1983.
  • Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and Duchess Birgitte, in 1985.
  • Queen Elizabeth II, in the November of 1995.
  • Prince Bhisatej Rajani of Thailand in July of 1996.
  • King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau'u of  Tonga in the August of 2012.

With thanks to Don Stafford's "The Founding years in Rotorua" and "The New Century in Rotorua" ; Rotorua Photonews ; Rotorua Daily Post ; Papers Past and National Library Digital Archive.