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So, welcome back after the Matariki holiday weekend.
Yesterday our media was full of stories of New Zealanders celebrating Matariki in all sorts of ways. Whether it was kite flying, or welcoming the dawn and trying to spot 9 dim stars as they pop over the horizon, or music festivals, or —in the case of the visiting US Womens Football team here for the World Cup— wishing everyone a happy Matariki and reminding you to remember all those in your family who have passed on.
It was all a bit rah rah, but then again it's only the second time the holiday has been marked, so it's still new and we're figuring out what the holiday means
Which gets up a lot of people's nose. They accuse the media of being complicit in a Government scheme to force an unwanted and unneeded holiday on New Zealanders. Social media was full of people claiming that Matariki is a made up holiday.
Well, if you want a made up holiday, try King's Birthday Weekend which celebrates the birthday of a man who doesn't live in this country and even more bizarrely, it's not even his birthday.
Many claimed the real New Year always starts on January the first so what's this holiday all about?
Ignoring the fact that the financial New Year starts on April 1st, and New Years around the world have different dates like Diwali, the Jewish New Year starts in September, and the Chinese New Year in February.
Labour Weekend celebrates unionism and the 40 day working week, yet many capitalists opposed to unionism gladly take the day off and head to their bach for a kip.
The real argument against Matariki is that it pushes us into a territory of too many statutory holidays, which is bad for productivity. But then again, the beach I was staying at had all their stores open. They were doing a great trade, and were thankful for the holiday and some much needed cashflow.
But I didn't see that sentiment echoed by too many others. Most of the complainants about Matariki just don't like Maori stuff, but whatever you do don't call them racists because they hate that too. But they'll have to get over themselves because the holiday is not going away. That's what Christopher Luxon promised last year.
I liked Matariki. I liked the positive attitude of many. I liked the sentiment of remembering your ancestors that goes with it. It comes at the right time of the year because winter is a long slog of full weeks and bad weather.
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