The government has set out the dates for the new Matariki public holiday for the next 30 years, adding one more long weekend to the calendar.
New Zealanders will have their first Matariki holiday on 24 June next year.
The calendar date for holiday will shift each year to align with the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar) and will always be on a Friday.
Matariki, the star cluster also known as Pleiades, rises in midwinter and marks the start of the Māori New Year.
Some iwi name this time of year Puanga, after a bright star that is above and to the right of the Matariki constellation.
The government says the Matariki advisory group wanted the holiday tied to a long weekend to emphasise its importance as a time when whānau spend time together.
When the star cluster rises, many hapū also remember loved ones who have died.
This year, it can first be seen in the sky from early this morning.
"Matariki will be our first public holiday that recognises Te Ao Māori and will be one that is uniquely New Zealand," Acting Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Peeni Henare said.
"Matariki is more than just a public holiday. Our celebration of the new public holiday will be informed by key values such as unity, sharing, feasting, coming together, and environmental awareness."
"The Matariki public holiday will always fall on a Friday, which will help more Kiwis take mid-winter getaways and support the tourism sector's economic recovery," Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Wood said.
"The Matariki Advisory Group asked that we be guided by the whakataukī 'Matariki hunga nui' (Matariki brings us together). This new long weekend will allow people to travel to their hometown or around our regions, and spend time with their whānau."
Wood said it would also mean many of those who miss out on the Mondayisation of holidays would have Matariki to look forward to.
Tourism and hospitality businesses had welcomed the extra long weekend, Wood told First Up. "When we've crunched the numbers and looked at how this stacks up economically, it's quite possible there'll be a small net economic benefit."
"For New Zealanders more broadly it's going to be a special and important day for us to come together as a community.
"We don't want it to become a massively commercialised day like some of our other public holidays. There aren't going to be any rules that prevent that but we really want to focus on those principles of whānau and community."
A stand-alone Bill to formally establish the public holiday will be introduced to Parliament later this year, and people will have the opportunity to provide their feedback during the select committee process.
Proposed Matariki public holiday dates
- 2022 - 24 June
- 2023 - 14 July
- 2024 - 28 June
- 2025 -20 June
- 2026 -10 July
- 2027 -25 June
- 2028 -14 July
- 2029 -6 July
- 2030 -21 June
- 2031 -11 July
- 2032 - 2 July
- 2033 -24 June
- 2034 -7 July
- 2035 -29 June
- 2036 -18 July
- 2037 -10 July
- 2038 -25 June
- 2039 - 15 July
- 2040 -6 July
- 2041 - 19 July
- 2042 -11 July
- 2043 - 3 July
- 2044 -24 June
- 2045 -7 July
- 2046 -29 June
- 2047 -19 July
- 2048 -3 July
- 2049 -25 June
- 2050 -15 July
- 2051 -30 June
- 2052 -21 June