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Happy Midwinter…Thing…Can We Make It Matariki Now?

June 21st, 2010 by the_lifer

You can tell there’s something up. All the shops are having sales. There’s increased social buzz around town. Museums and bars are having special events. There are even holiday decorations. Something is giving the soggy winter air of Wellington a bit of sparkle.

Isn’t it a pity that nobody can agree exactly what it is?

The museums say it’s the Maori holiday of Matariki.  Bars and restaurants are inviting us to celebrate Midwinter Christmas, any time from late June to early July. Party themes inevitably have some seasonal acknowledgement tacked on, the sense that there ought to be an official holiday, even though there isn’t.  With all these contradictions, the stores come closest when they trumpet “Midwinter Madness!”

The yearning for a midwinter holiday, which nibbles all Kiwis, has particular bite in Wellington, where the Solstice promise of lengthening days will keep the inhabitants sane through the rest of the winter. What’s more, if a winter holiday ever becomes official, it’ll happen from the Beehive, approval pried from Parliament.

At this rate Auckland is well ahead of us in discussing Matariki, looking at  giving it the official standing it lacks. The holiday is so popular that the website has been broken, its bandwidth exceeded.  Let’s make it official for the lot of us, so we can have a real Kiwi reason to hang up seven-star ornaments, drink mulled wine after stargazing, and grab bargains at Matariki Madness sales.

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