News & Activity

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Showcasing Matariki encourages international audiences to embrace Māori culture

“An important part of marketing Aotearoa New Zealand as a destination is bringing unique Māori perspectives and stories to the forefront of our storytelling, in an authentic and meaningful way,” says Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive René de Monchy.

“The Māori New Year, marked by the Matariki star cluster appearing in the early morning sky, provides New Zealand with a strong story to tell offshore. This helps us attract manuhiri (visitors) who are interested in our unique culture and stunning night skies.

More than 75% of people seriously considering a holiday in New Zealand said they would be interested in stargazing during their visit, while 69% of those people also associate New Zealand with a unique indigenous culture.

“The primary focus of our new four-strategy to grow year-round tourism is showcasing the exceptional experiences manuhiri can have between March and November, outside the peak season,” he said.

“Matariki provides a special opportunity for manuhiri to embrace Māori culture during our winter. We want manuhiri to form an emotional connection with destination New Zealand and develop an understanding of Māori customs. This means they will go beyond just visiting and connect with people and place while they are here.”

This year, Tourism New Zealand is using its channels to share the cultural significance of Matariki(opens in new window), details of how to spot the Matariki star cluster in the night sky, and highlighting the many events and celebrations happening across the country that manuhiri can join.

Matariki is a celebration that begins with the rising of the Matariki star cluster in late June or early July and signals the beginning of the Māori New Year. It is a time for remembrance, celebrating the present and looking to the future.

Matariki has been a public holiday in New Zealand since 2022. This year's national theme, set by Manatū Taonga is 'Matariki Heri Kai(opens in new window)', the feast of Matariki', with people encouraged to spend time together feasting on fresh, locally sourced produce. It is an opportunity for manuhiri to experience New Zealand's fantastic food(opens in new window) producers, food suppliers, and food from our farms, oceans and gardens.