Mon, 15 Aug 2022

WELLINGTON, June 24 (Xinhua) -- New Zealanders celebrated Matariki, or the Maori New Year, as an official public holiday for the first time on Friday.

Matariki will be a distinctly New Zealand holiday, a time for reflection and celebration, and the first public holiday that recognizes the Maori worldview, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said while joining the nation's celebrations at a traditional ceremony early Friday morning.

In Maori culture, Matariki is also the name of the Pleiades star cluster that rises in mid-winter, marking the start of the Maori New Year. In recent years Matariki has become a time of celebration for many people across New Zealand.

A Matariki Advisory Group has been established by the government to provide advice on future dates of the public holiday and how it should be celebrated because the date of Matariki changes each year depending on the appearance of the Pleiades in the sky.

The New Zealand government also hopes Matariki will help boost the country's tourism sector as a unique New Zealand holiday experience to attract international tourists.

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