Parishwide News - Extracts from Parish Newsletter - July 2020
Dear CHB Parish friends
When I was a young thing - 24, I would have been - I set out on my OE. I remember arriving in London and going, as you did in those days, to New Zealand House, to sign in and collect mail. In the entrance way there was a policeman standing on duty – and I covered myself in embarrassment by practically throwing my arms around him. Why would I such a thing? Well, he was Maori and he wore the mid-blue uniform of the NZ police. I’d been travelling for a couple of months by that stage and he represented home. I remember he was very kind – he laughed at me (nicely), welcomed me to NZ House and told me where to go to sign in. He was obviously well used to being on the receiving end of rapturous greetings from suddenly homesick Kiwis.
Over the past 40 years, there has been a lot of thought and conversation about what makes us uniquely NZers. The increasing observance of ANZAC Day is part of that I think, (I know we share this with the Australians), the discussions around Waitangi Day and how we observe the Treaty of Waitangi, whether we should celebrate Parihaka (as opposed to Guy Fawkes, perhaps) – all sorts of things. One change I have definitely noticed over this time is how Matariki celebrations have become much more common in the wider community. Over the last few years children and families from Abbotsford - the Waiapu Kids early childhood centre in Waipawa - have come up the road to St Peter’s and celebrated Matariki in what is always a wonderful family and community occasion. Not only do I think this is a really great thing to do – I find it very interesting from a church perspective. The Christian tradition has always borrowed from the culture around it, wherever it was planted (think St Patrick legendarily explaining the Trinity via a shamrock, or the date we celebrate the birth of Christ taking over the timing of an older celebration to mark the winter solstice: Christ the light of the world banishing darkness – it makes sense). And I would say that other cultures have much to teach us – not only can they offer us knowledge we do not have, but looking at what we do know through another lens can help us see what we do know more clearly. The old saying: can’t see the wood for the trees is very true. Changing the cultural lens of our (metaphorical) spectacles can deepen our understanding and appreciation of all sorts of things, including the things we know and hold dear from our own cultural heritage. This is not (I hope and trust) cultural appropriation. I see it more as a conversation – a really interesting and important one, for all who call these beautiful islands, home.
In spite of Matariki’s increased public profile, I really had only the vaguest knowledge of what it was all about, so I have done a bit of digging. Dr Rangi Matamua, from Waikato University has done a lot of research and generally getting the information out there – “Knowledge is only knowledge when it is shared,” he says at one point in one of his talks, which I thought was a profound statement in its own right. He has a really interesting talk on the Te Papa Museum website, which you can find on this link:
It’s worth listening too, not least for the story of how he came to be involved in researching this area, but here are some Matariki points, as a very, very quick guide
- Matariki is the Maori New Year.
- It is also is a cluster of stars (not a constellation)
- These stars have been known and described for 1000s of years. The Western world knows them as Pleiades (from the Greek), the Japanese as Subaru (think of the logo on Subaru cars ).
- They were used as a navigational aid by the crews of voyaging waka as the travelled around the Pacific.
- Traditionally, how the different stars in the cluster appeared (bright, dim, invisible etc) was interpreted as a guide as to how the harvests in the year ahead would be.
- The cluster is visible in NZ in our winter – at different times each year, because the Western calendar is based on the sun and the Maori calendar is based on the moon.
- The traditional time for observing Matariki is during the last quarter before the new moon, during Matariki’s time in the sky – this year that is 13-20 July.
- There are 9 stars (not 7!) and each has a particular significance:
- Matariki – reflection and hope, our connection to the environment and the gathering of people together
- Pohutukawa – those who have died over this past year
- Waiti – lakes and rivers – all fresh water bodies, and the food that comes from them
- Waita – the ocean, and food from there
- Waipuna-a-rangi – rain!
- Tupuanuku – everything that grows in the soil
- Tupuarangi- fruits, berries, birds – everything that grows up in the trees
- Ururangi – the winds
- Hiwi-i-te-rangi – the longing heart; our hopes and dreams for the future.
You can see that there is a lot in here that can inform and enrich our Christian tradition. There are lots of online suggestions for Matariki activities, including food (the first attachment is Uncle Pare’s recipies for chicken soup and “Old Man’s Bread”, again from the Te Papa website) or you can simply use the reference points of the various stars as a focus for your prayers, this week. Either way – a happy and blessed Matariki to you!
I have also been asked if I would make a note in this email of services in the parish for the weekend ahead. Thank you for this suggestion – I think it would be helpful and will list them at the end of each week’s email. Unless I get a sudden rush of requests to keep on with the Zoom evening Prayer at 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon, I won’t be including these. They never really caught the parish imagination once we got back into Level 1, and I think their time may have, for the moment at least, come and gone.
On the other hand, our annual Hawkes Bay Anglican Regional Conference is this year being held by zoom: 7-9pm this Thursday evening, July 23. All are welcome to attend and information about the conference including the link to click on for attendance is our 2nd attachment. Please note we are asked to RSVP if we are attending.
Our prayer this week is inspired by the themes of Matariki:
We give thanks for this day.
We remember the treasures that have been passed on.
The mountains, the rivers, the seas,
The trees and birds
Are there for us all to share.
Our aim should be to build friendships
So that we may work together
For a better world.
Parish services 19.7.20
St Mary’s 9:30am
St Peter’s 10am
Next weekend 26.7.20
Sea Sunday Service 10am Country Club Porangahau, lunch to follow