After concerns that it would not be able to go ahead at all due to COVID-19, Kahu Youth’s RIchard Elvey said this year’s lakefront Matariki celebration was “one of the best ones ever.”
“The weather was perfect, and everything went perfectly,” he reflected. “We’ve always had support from the community, but we had more this year than ever before. There were more people helping on the day, and it seemed incredibly busy.
“It was a really happy vibe all day.”
The event, largely organised by local youth, was the ninth of its kind since Kahu Youth first organised a Matariki potluck dinner nine years ago.
This year’s celebrations in the dinosaur park featured workshops, cultural and community performances, a community koha hangi, a fire show, two bonfires on the beach, and a fireworks display. Amongst the performers was up-and-coming rock band Better than Nothing, made up of a group of MAC students writing all their own music.
Artist Stephen Martyn Welch’s Matariki mural proved extremely popular, with children and adults joining in to help paint it throughout the day. “It looked fantastic,” said Elvey, “Marty has taken it back to his studio for now. We might raffle it off and raise money, or display it somewhere. We aren’t quite sure yet.”
Perhaps best of all for those who attended last year - when the hangi was brought out a little too early - Elvey said the food was “cooked to perfection.”
“We weren’t going to let that happen two years in a row,” he laughed.
The excellent turnout was reflected by many positive reviews from attendees after the event . Local Karla Manning said she had “a fab day celebration Matariki. How awesome were the bonfires?”
View edition 985 of the Wānaka Sun here.