Marking Matariki in Opotiki

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A HEALTH and wellness event to mark Matariki will be held in Opotiki on Saturday.
Matariki, the Maori new year, is said to bring a healing energy and begins in June when the Matariki star cluster rises.

It is a time of renewal, and every year special ceremonies and events take place to celebrate new beginnings.

Te Hauora o Matariki will bring together special guests, tohunga (healers) and hauora and wellness coaches.

Event co-ordinator Josie Gemmell said the event was being held to raise awareness and support whanau Maori who had been affected by domestic and sexual violence.

Mrs Gemmell who is a hauora (health) specialist with a Maori world-view, will provide information to manuhiri (visitors) around alternative healing, praxis, both traditional and contemporary and creative healing

Mirimiri, a holistic healing practice and massage technique used by Maori for generations, will also be available on site as practitioners continue in the footsteps of their ancestors with the long-standing treatment.

During the lockdown, she said, a group of healers and workers hatched a plan to help combat stress and domestic violence in the Opotiki region.

The event, which will run again for the first time in five years, is a result of the need for better outcomes for whanau who are experiencing violence.

“Many of our women and children have been affected by the lockdown, so that’s been quite concerning for our community,” she said.

“Suddenly we found ourselves stuck behind gates and we weren’t able to see anyone, and this isolation has hurt some of us.

“It’s a time for people to come along and get some healing, some mirimiri and spiritual healing of matakite. Matariki allows whanau to come together to get some personal healing for themselves,” she said.

A mobile health and well-being coach will also be available at the event.

“It’s not just about rongoa Maori, it’s also about the everyday things that people do. It’s about the right nutrition and the importance of fitness,” Mrs Gemmell said.

“He will also address some of the diseases which adversely affect many Maori, including diabetes and obesity.

“There are healers in the community, however, I don’t think people are aware, so, it’s bringing awareness of what’s available to whanau Maori.”

Te Hauora o Matariki will be held at the Opotiki Senior Citizens’ Hall on the corner of King and Nelson streets on Saturday, from 10am till 3pm. Entry is by gold coin.

delilah.whaitiri@thebeacon.co.nz