Matariki - A Stellar Time To Celebrate - On Maori Television

Some of this country’s best-loved musicians have joined forces with international chef Peter Gordon to celebrate Matariki – the Maori New Year – with a spectacular concert and feast.

The event they created, held at Turangawaewae Marae with the blessing of Kingi Tuheitia, has been captured in a two-part series that marks this special time of year, in MATARIKI AHUNGA NUI, and MATARIKI HUNGA NUI, and will screen on Maori Television on June 28 and July 5 at 8.00 PM.

Drawing around 700 guests, and billed as the biggest gourmet hangi in Aotearoa, the event features a stellar line up of musicians, including Dave Dobbyn, Boh Runga, Nesian Mystic, Moana Maniapoto and the Tribe, Tama Waipara, Maisey Rika, Whirimako Black and Pania Papa, with the talented Matai Smith on hosting duties.

Meanwhile, the marae kitchen – already renowned for its ability to put on a great spread for the multitudes – is in the hands of ex-pat chef Peter Gordon, his task: to spice up the traditional hangi fare with contemporary gourmet flavours.

“The focus has been to put on a really good show, and to raise up the profile of Matariki as an event,” says Hinewehi Mohi, whose involvement in the event has been three-fold.  Mohi performs, produces the programme, and represents the event’s official charity – the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre.

“It has come together really well, and I was really overwhelmed by people’s aroha and support.”

The making of episode one has been guided by the proverb Matariki ahunga nui – provider of plentiful food, and shows the gourmet hangi at preparation stage, as Gordon gets to work with the marae kaimahi, or workers. 

The menu – one of the true stars of the event – features hangi staples such as pork, mutton and chicken, but with new exotic twists, from marinades of Thai spices, kawakawa and coconut, to stuffings of apple, walnut and sage.

Also in part one: scenes of the traditional powhiri at Turangawaewae, and interviews with those involved in the event, who explain why they wanted to give their time. Perfomers also give their thoughts on the meaning and purpose of Matariki, traditionally a time for feasting, family, remembering and celebrating.

Part two is inspired by the words Matariki hunga nui – Matariki has many admirers, in which video ‘postcards’ are sent in from friends and supporters around the world, in places such as London, New York and Japan.  The hangi is pulled up and served, and performances continue against a backdrop designed by artist Tracey Tawhiao, building to a grand finale in which Kingi Tuheitia makes his way to a stage.

A time to celebrate the year that has gone, and the new one ahead.  Tune in to Maori Television for MATARIKI AHUNGA NUI and MATARIKI HUNGA NUI, on June 28 and July 5 at 8.00 PM.

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