The Spinoff Weekend: How to celebrate Matariki
The start of a new year means reflecting and gathering with people you love
Mānawatia a Matariki! Welcome to the Spinoff Weekend. For those who haven’t marked Matariki before, Simon Day writes about his own journey in learning about the tradition, as a time to reflect then celebrate. Other reads for your weekend: we’ve lost some important snacks, the Christchurch stadium debacle has dragged on for a decade, and what to watch this weekend. Get some Coffee Supreme and settle in.
-Shanti Mathias, staff writer
This long weekend we mark Matariki, the world’s first indigenous public holiday. For the many people around Aotearoa who haven’t celebrated Matariki before, Simon Day offers some context to the holiday, which is marked differently by iwi through the country. “When Matariki gathers in the sky, the stars are calling people to gather on earth,” he writes. There are different parts to a Matariki celebration, which takes place over several days, in community with others. Elders look to the stars to understand what the year to come might hold, a community remembers those who have passed away during the last year, and then food is offered to the stars and the community can celebrate. “Make it your Matariki, where you are,” says Dr. Rangi Mātāmua, the humble superstar who has advocated for Matariki to be marked around the country.
Will Matariki become as commercialised as Christmas, Easter, and Halloween?
When David Clark sent out a press release announcing he'd just met with New Zealand's "third biggest grocery provider" there were gasps around The Spinoff newsroom. Turns out Clark was talking about Night 'n Day, the 24-hour operation where students go to get pies and Powerades at 3am. How did it get so big? As Chris Schulz finds out, it's not because of their $2 lasagne toppers. General manager and reluctant spokesperson Matthew Lane talks about the company rise and resisting the supermarket duopoly.
This week, Aotearoa learned of two snack tragedies: Ernest Adams, the slice ubiquitous at morning teas around Aotearoa, has been discontinued, and has disappeared from supermarkets. “When there’s bring a plate, what is it now? What is there for us?” mourns a slice fan from Dunedin. But the blows to Aotearoa’s snack culture don’t stop there: we also learned that Le Snak, the plasticy cheese-and-cracker combo that made me very jealous at primary school (my parents wanted me to be “healthy” and eat “wholemeal bread”) is gone too. What new snack monstrosities will the food technicians think up to replace these beloved favourites?
In an edition of The Boil-Up, The Spinoff’s food newsletter, from a few weeks ago, Charlotte Muru-Lanning discusses why snack nostalgia is so powerful
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Number of the week:
$473 million $533 million $683 million
How did Christchurch’s downtown stadium go so wrong? As local writer James Dann points out, construction hasn’t even started but already New Zealand Rugby and The Crusaders have refused to pay for any part of the stadium they stand most to benefit from, costs are ballooning, different groups are bickering over how many seats it should have, and the Otago Daily Times is worried that people will no longer be attracted to Dunedin’s own indoor stadium. You have to wonder: what is a stadium worth? Is this the best use of the better part of a billion dollars?
In most of the Taranaki rohe, the sign of the new year is the star Puanga, not the Matariki cluster. In this lovely piece, Airana Ngawera pays tribute to the star and the multitude of meanings it holds. He’s particularly attentive to the ways that the weather at this season of the year, cold and wet as it is, is part of the meaning that the season brings: a time to gather close to the warmth of others, a time for water to cleanse the maemae of sorrow from the year that has passed.
This week, my colleague Chris Schulz — former scribe of The Spinoff Weekend, and more importantly an incredible business and entertainment writer — launched a new weekly business newsletter. Stocktake is produced in partnership with Kiwibank and features the people behind the businesses driving Aotearoa and insight on how the forces affecting the economy of Aotearoa will impact the lives of New Zealanders.
Sign up to Stocktake to get the next edition delivered fresh to your inbox on Tuesday morning – and go in the draw to win one of three prize packs from one of our favourite business success stories, Fix and Fogg. Two subscribers will receive a six-month supply and one lucky winner a full year’s supply of delicious nut butter from certified B Corp Fix and Fogg.
It’s a long weekend, so this week’s link foraging is themed around activities to sustain and nourish you through that extra day off.
Watch: 2012 nostalgia-fest Everything I Know About Love, the 1000th episode of Seven Sharp, this soothing timelapse, Matty McLean on FIRST, The Beths’ new music video (then read this feature from 2020 about their video team!)
Read: Letting the atua into children’s books in New Zealand, why the teens want to be anonymous now, this poem about the politics of bodies, and why the trend of American place names on fast fashion clothing must end.
Listen: The Spinoff’s Nē? podcast, where artist Nikau Hindin discusses making star maps, Nick Mulvey’s exquisite album New Mythology, the great Normal Gossip (Spinoff feature writer Sam Brooks and I listen to this podcast obsessively and compare notes afterwards), and Gone by Lunchtime on the Gib board crisis
Visit: There are events for Matariki being held around the country. Meanwhile Stuff searches for the best pies of the nation and North & South finds Aotearoa’s favourite secondhand bookshops (this list sadly excludes The Piggery in Whangārei)
Eat: Oat milk Whittaker’s (it’s not real, yet, but we all want it to be! ), Pizza Hut’s Detroit style pie (pretty authentic, says a real live Detroiter), the best focaccia ( it takes three days, which makes it a perfect long weekend project — I made this and it was worth all the effort).
I usually try to add a snappy description of my own but this headline does my job for me: “If the aliens are calling, let it go to voicemail”
It’s tidy up time (with Kanoa Lloyd)
And, finally, The Lion King in te reo Māori did what no Disney translation has done before.