Matariki looks likely to become a public holiday

Labour have announced that if they are returned to Government they will make Matariki New Zealand’s twelfth public holiday from 2022. Greens have also announced support saying they would want it to start next year.

With Labour or Labour+Greens likely to be able to form the next government this looks likely to happen in a year or two.

I have supported Matariki becoming a public holiday in the past. My preference was to replace the largely irrelevant Queen’s Birthday (which is nowhere near England’s queen’s birthday). Cost to businesses of another public holiday will mostly be minor or negligible but will impact a bit on some.

But a mid winter holiday is a much better time to have fireworks and breaks up the current nearly five month period where there are no public holidays.

Labour’s announcement: Labour will make Matariki a public holiday


As New Zealanders we are proud of who we are, what we stand for, and the way we weave together different worlds and cultures to create our unique national identity.

Te Ao Māori plays a large part in not just defining who we are as a nation, but in setting us apart from the rest of the world. Te Ao Māori belongs only here in Aotearoa.

This is why, if re-elected this October, we’ll make Matariki New Zealand’s 12th public holiday, beginning in 2022.

Māori and non-Māori New Zealanders across the country have been calling for this mid-winter moment, and Labour have listened. It’s time has come.

During Matariki  we all come together for festivals, local events, balls and dinners to mark  the Māori New Year.

It’s a distinctly New Zealand moment – and it will make for a distinctly New Zealand holiday where we can come together to reflect, celebrate and plan for the future.  

A little history

Matariki heralds the start of the Māori New Year and has now become a time of celebration not just for Māori but for many New Zealanders across Aotearoa.

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades that rises in mid-winter and can mean the “eyes of god” or “tiny eyes”. There are different stories about Matariki, but one Māori myth is that when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were separated by their children, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens – creating Matariki.

Over recent years, we’ve seen Matariki celebrations grow and this will give Māori across the country a chance to share their unique traditions, history and stories with the rest of New Zealand.

This announcement builds on the Government’s track record this term of elevating the status of our history and Māori culture, including, making New Zealand history compulsory in schools, support for land wars commemoration and unveiling a statue to acknowledge Dame Whina Cooper.

The details

We will make Matariki a public holiday in 2022. A group of experts will help determine an exact date for the winter holiday but we expect it will always fall on a Monday or a Friday within Matariki.

By waiting till 2022, we also give businesses time to prepare and recover from the immediate impacts of COVID-19.

Our tourism operators across New Zealand have also been calling for more public holidays to boost domestic tourism, and we see Matariki as an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our history to the world. This is why we will work with Māori businesses to use Matariki as a tool to connect with international businesses and share our unique offerings to the world in years to come. 


There is some opposition. Newshub: Backlash to Labour’s promise of Matariki holiday from 2022

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA)

…warns the announcement is unlikely to find favour with its business members.

Chief executive Brett O’Riley says it will be seen as another cost and the Government priority should be focused on fixing the Holidays Act.

“We need to see a simplified and streamlined process for calculating entitlements and creating efficiencies for business,” O’Riley said in a statement.

“We understand the cultural argument about Matariki being considered important enough for a public holiday, but it could have been exchanged with one of the other public holidays.”

Fair comment.

National leader Judith Collins…

…also weighed in when asked about her views on making Matariki a public holiday on Monday.

While saying some in National thought it was a great idea, she pointed out the extra costs this could impose on businesses.

“The issue that it is another public holiday that businesses have to pay for,” Collins said.

“We are seeing big businesses having to shed many staff. We are going to have a lot of holidays for people that they weren’t looking for.”

Most employees are unlikely to be disappointed with having another paid day off.

ACT leader David Seymour…

…accused Ardern of being in “la la land”.

“Does she know there’s an economic crisis going on?” he questioned in a statement following Labour’s announcement.

“New Zealanders don’t need a day off, they need Jacinda Ardern to take three years off.

“There are 70,000 more people on welfare, future generations face mountains of debt, businesses are struggling to survive, and Labour’s answer is a new public holiday.

“If Labour wants Matariki to be a public holiday, it should abolish Labour Day so businesses aren’t taking on more costs.”

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters…

…warned that “work and sacrifice is what’s required, not another holiday”.

“Now is not the time, when we are in the throes of huge financial challenges, to start thinking about a holiday,” Peters told Newshub.

“If you want to change the name and call it Matariki, fine, but it’s a public holiday, and as I say, the only way out of this is a word that’s got four letters in it: w-o-r-k.

“One time in the future, when we rebuild our economy, maybe we can think about it. I disagree with an extra public holiday at this critical, stringently-challenging economic time.”

It is planned to start in two years time, not now.

Going by current party polling these objections are likely to be futile.

Leave a comment

44 Comments

  1. John J Harrison

     /  8th September 2020

    According to the NZ Herald this could cost an extra $200 million on businesses.
    If Labour are intent on imposing another holiday on an economy on its death bed ( await the 17/09 financials) then withdraw the ridiculous Labour Day.
    Ardern loves spraying around our hard earned taxes and borrowed funds with alacrity but this is plain dumb when we are coming into the worst economic period since the Great Depression.
    Why do they not have an ounce of business nouse when weighing up such decisions?
    Or is it a case of more “ hugs and feelz .” ?

    Reply
    • John J Harrison

       /  8th September 2020

      I note the dynamic Kelvin Davis confirmed on HDPA program that the additional Maori Matariki Day will cost businesses between $230 – $280 million.
      I’d Labour are re-elected we will all be on holiday 365 days a year.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  8th September 2020

        I thought you already were!

        Reply
      • John, I knew that it would be a LOT, but would never have guessed that it was that much,

        Why not abolish Queen’s Birthday which is near that time and is probably irrelevant to many or most of us ?

        Reply
      • Duker

         /  8th September 2020

        “Maori Matariki Day will cost businesses between $230 – $280 million.”
        The work that needs to be done wont go away, it just fills the time available.

        Those vendeuses and rentiers in Bay of Island will welcome the extra clientele

        Reply
        • People won’t rent houses for one day, and most businesses are not cafes and restaurants.

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  8th September 2020

          The work that needs to be done wont go away, it just fills the time available.

          Spoken like a true bureaucrat.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  8th September 2020

            Wilco , it wont cost a thing for you, indeed you loved the idea a few months back, but now your rigid ideology is showing…bah humbug

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  8th September 2020

              It won’t if they scrap the Waitangi fiasco to compensate.

        • David

           /  8th September 2020

          That is crazy talk, the work “could” well still be there or perhaps not done at all as it was discretionary but the work that is still there will have to be done using overtime.
          We arent all sitting around coding or have jobs where we only do 4 hours of productive work and shag around the rest of the day.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  8th September 2020

            We just had a full scale experiment on what theory says and what happens in practice…the Covid shutdowns
            Suicides some said would rise because of the shutdown…they fell
            Deaths from missed medical treatments would rise …they dropped

            Intution of the real world is often wrong……always by the special people who claim their higher incomes makes them right

            Reply
            • John J Harrison

               /  8th September 2020

              Duker, you are delusional.
              The reported suicide statistics are dated – and you know it.
              They originate from Coroners reports which as you well know are brought down up to 18 months following the tragedy.
              The only current and factual statistics are from police job sheets which are published weekly within the police department.
              Anecdotal information demonstrates that due to the appalling direction the government has chosen to address Covid the current suicide rates are substantially above anything previously recorded.
              Ardern and Nash will do anything to keep the summary of daily police job sheets away from the public eye.
              Hopefully Hosking will ask the question of Nash in the very near future!

            • ‘Anecdotal information’ was actually an unsubstantiated rumour started on Twitter, which the Chief Coroner, Police and Mental health Foundation said were incorrect.

              New Zealand Police and the Mental Health Foundation previously said there was no evidence to support such claims. The Foundation slammed the rumour as false and potentially dangerous.

              Actual statistics (provisional) show that suicides dropped a little in the year to June 2020.

              Details posted: https://yournz.org/2020/09/09/nz-suicide-rates-lower/

            • Weekly Police job sheets aren’t published and obviously wouldn’t have time to get detailed national data nor coroner details because yes, that takes time.

            • duperez

               /  8th September 2020

              “The appalling direction the government has chosen to address Covid…”

              Right from the beginning what would you have done to address Covid? What different direction necessitating significantly different strategies would you have actioned? Now that you have the advantage of lounging about in comfort watching while people have had to make hard decisions and do top real stuff.

              Naturally I expect they will take into account and eliminate any human error anywhere along the chain, you know the sort of things which had a few going hysterical and acting as if the world were ending.

  2. Gerrit

     /  8th September 2020

    Most likely that Labour is appeasing their Maori caucus for they stand to loose possibly two of the seven Maori seat to a resurgent Maori party.

    Cynical?

    Swap for a now meaningless labour day holiday?

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  8th September 2020

      What resurgent maori party … no suggestion they can win anything, especially Tamahere who was a favourite of the Grey Lynn chattering classes and the Citizens and Ratepayers but bombed big time when it came to the vote…. the lowesest polling runner up candidate …ever. Even the Maori King backing a candidate last time made no difference as they are history , like all the maori parties before them

      Reply
    • Or meaningless Queen’s Birthday ?

      Reply
  3. NOEL

     /  8th September 2020

    Good call . Cancel Waitangi day and protester and others who diminish that day can do it unpaid.

    Reply
  4. David

     /  8th September 2020

    So for one of my small business its $3120 bucks in salary and a days work lost which is a fortnights profit smoked.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  8th September 2020

      lucky you’re….’loaded’….!

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  8th September 2020

        ” fortnights profit smoked.”
        I thought you ‘didnt have any profits’ …when you were complaining about the Covid tax rebate thing you couldnt get…boo hoo
        Of course you used an accounting driven taxation strategy to have all the projected profit paid out as ‘shareholder salaries’ which could then use other tax minimization methods to reduce the ‘taxable income’…could be negative gearing , personal super fund, notation car leasing ( for the Range rover) etc etc

        Reply
      • David

         /  8th September 2020

        True. No one gets a pay rise that year they can have a day off instead.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  8th September 2020

          The work expands to fill the time available. or the converse less time means things are hurried through.
          Unless you are running 7 days a week operation and have to have holiday loading.

          Reply
  5. duperez

     /  8th September 2020

    David Seymour of Ardern, “Does she know there’s an economic crisis going on?”

    She probably does. Even with average observation skills I’d say she knows it.

    Tell you what, here’s an idea I’ll happily donate to David Seymour, a little challenge.

    He could upstage the Labour Matariki announcement quite easily. He could get what he always desperately seeks, headlines.

    He should announce immediately that his party would abolish Good Friday and Easter Monday holidays. I’ll even write part of his press release for him.

    “There are 70,000 more people on welfare, future generations face mountains of debt, businesses are struggling to survive, and Act’s answer is to keep the country working. Having two days holiday celebrating religious beliefs and tradition is anomalous in our secular New Zealand 2020 society.”

    Now that would get him the relevance he craves. And (pray tell) on the grounds of rationality and principles it’s surely a stand they couldn’t not take. 😊

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  8th September 2020

      Shame on him trying to stop Labour spending other people’s money when that is their divine right. As it also seems for Maori. Throwing money at problems has evolved to throwing money at non-problems.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  8th September 2020

        Exactly whose money is he trying to stop them…spending?

        Reply
        • Everyone’s. That includes YOURS.

          Dupe;’pray tell’ means ‘please tell.’ I dont know what you think it means.

          Reply
          • duperez

             /  8th September 2020

            Kitty, you must’ve been a real bundle of laughs if you were an English or language teacher. The sort who would’ve have rapped a ruler over the knuckles of ee cummings or Ferlinghetti for not doing it proper like. 😶

            Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  8th September 2020

          Yours.

          Reply
      • duperez

         /  8th September 2020

        I won’t question that but can’t he go the whole hog? You know, get in before the Taxpayers’ Union comes up with the idea. I mean I’m taking about TWO days to be saved here,
        it’s perfectly logical.
        Hell, if he gets in with enough cobbers and is in Government, the Matariki holiday won’t happen and if he gets rid of Good Friday and Easter Monday holidays he can claim to have benefitted the country by presenting three more working days.🙂

        Reply
        • John J Harrison

           /  8th September 2020

          Duperez, now the dynamic Kelvin Davis, deputy leader of the Labour Party and Minister of Tourism as made another stupendous statement.
          He believes that having yet another holiday – Matariki Day, will boost tourism and business.
          I cannot envision hordes flying in from Asia, Australia and the U.S. in mid winter to cogitate on Maori science or star gazing.
          If another three day weekend will achieve the promised boost in business activity why don’t we make all weekends three days long.
          Out of the upcoming depression we will soar !
          Or his he merely dreaming ?

          Reply
          • David

             /  8th September 2020

            The incredibly dumb and stupid fool that is the tourism industry cant work out the time and a half and day of in lieu makes it barely worth opening.
            How can having a public holiday be economic development.

            Reply
          • Duker

             /  8th September 2020

            “He believes that having yet another holiday – Matariki Day, will boost tourism and business.”
            Big box retailers love another ‘long weekend’ type holiday , as do tourist towns.
            Harrison,he means the local tourism
            There was much made after the earlier lockdowns finished we should have more long weekends
            “Tourism industry pushes for one-off public holiday to boost economy – and the Government is considering it may 2016
            https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/tourism-industry-pushes-one-off-public-holiday-boost-economy-and-government-considering

            there was even talk of a 4 day week to get the public spending, but it picked up anymore more than originally expected

            Reply
          • duperez

             /  8th September 2020

            I’m waiting for someone to say we can’t get rid of the old Christian days Good Friday and Easter Monday as holidays because they are part of a bonanza weekend for retailers and local tourism. All that money going round is vital.
            (That’s the sort of angle Seymour would take.)

            Those same logicians can then argue that having a day off for Matariki is bad. Taking one day to cogitate Maori science is stupid but taking a couple of days off to cogitate some religious thing from a couple of thousand years ago is good?

            Talk all you like about Davis dreaming in some fantasyland but at least acknowledge that those in their fantasy world arguing about having a Matariki Day are accompanied by many many thousands more in that world with their protection of the religious days. With the aim of being consistent maybe you’ll join forces and as well as preventing a Matariki Day you too could get rid of a pointless holiday on Good Friday.

            David will not doubt join the party seeing as having a public holiday is against economic development. What’s the story too about the day after New Years day as a public holiday? Friday January 1st is a public holiday and Monday January 4th is a public holiday. Are you and David to argue against that and create a fuss about that?

            Maybe that’s the solution: If there is to be a Matariki Day get rid of the day after January 1st as a holiday. So we’re all square, status quo.

            Hell, I’ve had a good day! I’ve got rid of the day after New Year as a holiday, Good Friday and Easter Monday holidays and I won’t introduce a day off on Matariki Day.

            Four days saved! I’ve just made hundreds of millions for the country. 😊

            Reply
            • John J Harrison

               /  8th September 2020

              Duperez, once again you go off on a tangent.
              The dynamic Davis has advised us that long weekends boost the economy.
              So why not ALL weekends based on his well considered analysis?
              As an atheist I still acknowledge the beliefs of circa 50% of our population who are Christian.
              Whereas with another special day for Maori we now find out that different IWI believe in different days for Matariki.
              Dear o dear, what to do ?
              Endless hui and no doey but copious amounts of taxpayers money to fund endless “ investigations “ by self – appointed “ Elders “ together with the inevitable internecine in – fighting.
              A pathetic mess for all to look forward to.

            • Duker

               /  8th September 2020

              ““Tourism industry pushes for one-off public holiday to boost economy – and the Government is considering it”
              That was may this year.
              Looks like the right wing noise machine – silent or supportive over the earlier ‘possibility’ goes full blast once labour endorses it.
              Collins talks about rehab for junkies …not a peep, but if Ardern mentioned it , the howls of outrage would rend the air…kicked off by the right wing noise maker David Farrer/ Tax Avoiders Union et al.
              HDPA is in full cry, outraged I tell you…I think she uses a pre recorded background track that must be used 2 -3 times aweek.

            • duperez

               /  8th September 2020

              Davis says that long weekends boost the economy.
              Do they? Because he says long weekends boost the economy he should suggest every weekend is long one? Four day working weeks is an issue pondered and researched universally.

              You want him to try to have every weekend a long weekend?

              “Dear o dear, what to do?” you ask. Maybe not looking at it like ‘another special day for Maori’ would be a good start. Someone else mentioned ‘separatism.’ The separation is in yours. And theirs.

              I see 37% identify as Christians. Is it separatism having everyone having to tolerate days commemorating their religious days?

              We don’t want endless hui and copious amounts of taxpayers money to fund endless investigations and consultation. Ardern should have just promulgated Matariki Day as July 5 2021 and saved you the endless hui. Then you could have congratulated her on her bold and decisive leadership.😊

            • Jack

               /  8th September 2020

              Not at all keen on Jacinda pushing her religion of Humanism in our secular democracy, but it could be a good thing if she decisively scrapped the Easter holidays. Many Kiwis would become needful of deciding if they are under the cult of Christianity or whether they are Christians.
              Easter holidays are not for commemorating religious days anyway. And back when they were, too many of us were already on the cult slide.

              (Btw – Jack coined that term – ‘the cult slide’. You’re all aware of that I hope?)

              Picture this: A playground with many slides and separate groups of people using them. Each slide is unique in design. On too many of them the children cry as they get pushed down – the slide is not suitable for them. When they get to the bottom they don’t dare look around at the other slides – the adults are ushering them back to the ladder and telling them that all the other slides are not for them.
              It’s a playground of anxiety and diminishing laughter

  6. adamsmith1922

     /  8th September 2020

    OK, another public holiday, to celebrate what? Māori separatism!

    Reply
  7. Brian Johnston

     /  8th September 2020

    The Reserve Bank is about to print another $100 billion and Labour wants another public holiday. Mindless. We have major problems now and ahead. I find it difficult to believe they are even debating this extra public holiday. Can the idea. Lets rebuild industry.
    Is Matariki Maori for Marxist? Should that read a Marxist public holiday.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  8th September 2020

      Why would they print another $100 bill, cant even spend the first $30 bill so far. The numbers you talk about are possibly for up to 2022
      At interest rates of 0.25% sure beats the the $60 bill of borrowing at higher rates English and Key did during their 9 years…when national does it its not a problem and they didnt leave an asset like the now $40 bill Cullen fund like Clark and Cullen did.

      Reply
    • Fight4nz

       /  8th September 2020

      “Let’s rebuild industry”
      Would that be the industry decimated by nearly 50 years of liberal economic policy which amounted to don’t worry about jobs here, let China have them. Chinese locomotives anyone…
      That’s why an extra days holiday won’t be that bad, because its main impact is in our minuscule manufacturing sector. Meanwhile a boon for provincial retailers.

      Reply

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