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The nation officially marks it’s newest public holiday, Matariki, tomorrow, acknowledging the rise of the Matariki star cluster and marking the Maori New Year.

In Maniototo, Naseby Vision has co-ordinated a series of community events to celebrate the occasion in conjunction with the Maniototo Kapa Haka Group, Community Trust of Maniototo, Naseby Night Sky Tours and Otago Museum.

Celebrations start in the Naseby Town Hall with karakia, kapa haka performances and a korero (conversation) on Matariki.

Otago Museum’s Starlab planetarium and the museum’s science engagement team will be on site for a range of scientific activities and planetarium viewings.

A range of other Matariki-related activities will also be taking place with weaving, a display from Tiaki Maniototo and Ka Huru Manu Ngai Tahu’s interactive atlas of the South Island.

A hikoi to the Naseby Domain will move activities outdoors with a hangi and guided night sky viewings co-ordinated by astronomers from Naseby and Dunedin.

On Saturday, early risers will get the opportunity to view Matariki from the Naseby Night Sky Tours observatory area above the village, followed by a community breakfast.

Naseby Vision committee member John Crawford said it was a time to appreciate what was happening in the heavens but Matariki was also about remembering the past, such as “loved ones who have gone, there’ll be lots of memories to pass on and think about”.

Naseby Vision chairman Craig Grant said the organisation hoped the inaugural celebrations would become an annual event.