Matariki Experience lights up Southland Stadium


Tuurama Trust Cultural Activator Jay Coote is delighted to invite schools and whānau to The Matariki Experience at ILT Stadium Southland this week.

Kavinda Herath/Stuff

Tuurama Trust Cultural Activator Jay Coote is delighted to invite schools and whānau to The Matariki Experience at ILT Stadium Southland this week.

Part of Southland’s ILT Stadium has been transformed into an otherworldly nightscape for Tuurama Trust’s Matariki Experience.

Think lighting to set the scene, a booming voice and video display sharing the pūrākau (stories) of Matariki stars, and an artist’s impression of what they might look like as people.

After months of planning, Tuurama Trust cultural activator Jay Coote is ‘delighted’ to invite children and whānau to the stadium to learn about the Maori New Year.

He expects “a few thousand” feet through the doors in the coming days, with children from schools and kindergartens coming to learn and experience the artwork created by their peers.

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At least 10 buses were booked, but Coote hoped the little ones would also invite their parents to see the art in the evening.

Their work appears alongside special designs by former Invercargill artist Connor Chamberlain who illustrated the stars of the Matariki Group as personalities – with subtle references to Murihiku.

As New Zealand’s education system moves towards a more inclusive curriculum, Coote said the event gave teachers the opportunity to learn about resources they could use to explain Matariki in their classrooms.

“It gives them the opportunity to see what’s going on. If I can find out more about Matariki, anyone can,” he said.

Jay Coote, cultural activator for the Tuurama Trust, says if he can learn about Matariki, anyone can.

Kavinda Herath/Stuff

Jay Coote, cultural activator for the Tuurama Trust, says if he can learn about Matariki, anyone can.

The first video presentation will teach visitors about the creation of Te Whānau Mārama (the celestial bodies), while a second presents the story of the early Wharenui of Tangotango and Wainui and their light children.

Coote said the event was a chance for the community to learn more about Matariki from Murihiku’s perspective as Aotearoa prepares to celebrate the Maori New Year as a public holiday.

The Matariki experience runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and until 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. Free entry.

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