We asked two of our own AIA whānau to share what Matariki means to them and how they celebrate this time of year. Our Chief Strategy Officer, Angela Busby (Te Rarawa and Ngati Tūwharetoa) said,
“Matariki is a time of year that is very close to my heart. It has been wonderful to see such an important part of my culture and heritage recognised as an official public holiday.
At Matariki I like to pause and reflect and give thanks for my many blessings. Whānau are so important, and I love bringing mine together at Matariki to eat good food, share our stories, remember those who are no longer with us, and look forward to the future.
The past couple of years have shown just how precious and special it is to be able to come together as a whānau and that we should make the most of every opportunity to celebrate together.”
Our Chief Customer & Digital Officer Sharron-Moana Botica (Maniapoto and Te Āti Awa) shared:
“Although I am a proud Māori wahine, I am still learning so much about our culture and traditions, including Matariki. I love that this unique celebration for Aotearoa is centred around whānau, without many of the commercial trappings of other major holidays, so like many others at Matariki I take the time to be with my family, as well as reflecting on the year just gone and the year ahead.
I also love that Matariki is so connected to the environment and to nature. Our environment plays such a huge role in our physical and mental wellbeing. Matariki is about connecting with each other but also with the world around us, so during June the team from our AIA whānau planted native trees in remembrance of our customers who passed away over the previous year, this is part of us respecting the values of Manaaki, aroha and whakamahara.”
No matter your cultural background, the principles of remembrance, celebrating the past, and looking to the future are ones that everyone in Aotearoa can adopt and use to make their own connections to each other and to the world around us.
Caring for the environment is not only good for our physical and mental wellbeing, it will make a difference to the world we leave for our tamariki and our future generations, and it’s also a great way to connect with whānau and mark this unique and significant celebration for everyone in Aotearoa.