Two Rivers Community Trust (initiated by Darfield Baptist Church) proudly hosted the inaugural ‘Matariki in Malvern’ event on Saturday 16th June 2018. More than 500 people from across Malvern came to celebrate Matariki, the Māori New Year, providing a fabulous opportunity for whānau and friends to spend time together. We were privileged to have David Moko, our Baptist Kaihautū, attending also. 

A spectacular fire poi performer welcomed visitors as they walked through a special tunnel entrance that created the atmosphere of native bush at night during Matariki. The event officially got underway with the mihi whakatau (welcoming ceremony) led by mana whenua from Ngāti Moki Marae, Te Taumutu. Nine students, one from each of the Malvern schools, proudly represented their school on stage as part of the ceremony.

Kapa haka groups pulled out all the stops to put on truly impressive performances. Te Wai Tuku Kiri is a special waiata to Te Taumutu Rūnanga, who gifted it to our primary school kapa haka groups to sing. The lyrics reminded the students of our rivers, which run across the land in Malvern and are an important part of the life cycle. The rivers have been here all our life, just as they were for our ancestors. We need to listen to our land and keep our rivers clean.

The auditorium was then transformed into a banqueting hall as delicious hāngi meals were enjoyed, along with homemade soup and fruit crumble. Afterwards, ‘Hands‑On Stations’ generated a new hive of activity as visitors of all ages wandered around having a go at different Matariki themed activities and taking mementoes home with them.

Two Rivers Community Trust’s mission statement—“A resilient community where people belong, contribute and flourish”—was clearly evident on the night, with many voicing pride at living in Malvern. The numerous willing volunteers helped make the event a success, and it was wonderful to see them all flourish through their participation. 

The event has had a far-reaching impact locally. It raised the profile of our cultural heritage, gave a platform for schools to proudly perform the rich learning of kapa haka, and opened up dialogue around cultural issues in our community. 

Story: Kelly Maude, Events Coordinator, Two Rivers Community Trust