Dave Dobbyn to headline Parihaka Puanga Kai Rau Festival

By Dion Hosking

For Taranaki and Whanganui iwi, Pipiri (June) marks the arrival of Puanga. Iwi mark the appearance of the star and celebrate during the month of June with Parihaka hosting their Puanga festival from June 9th to the 10th.

Also known as the star Rigel, Puanga appears in the Southern Hemisphere during winter marking the beginning of the Māori New Year, says Parihaka Puanga Kai Rau festival spokesperson Maata Wharehoka.

To celebrate Puanga’s arrival Parihaka Paa will be hosting their 5th Puanga Kai Rau festival, a festival that aims to revitalise traditional Māori practices and provide a safe learning environment for their people through a series of workshops and activities that will take place throughout the day including, wānanga on raranga (Weaving), Toi (Art) Kahu Whakatere.

“The idea of traditional “things Māori” are important to planning. This is encouraging and supports the notion of the revitalization of language and tikanga,” says Wharehoka.

The people of Parihaka work as a collective to maintain and host the event which began in 2012 following a suggestion from Emere Wano that the people of Parihaka take the responsibility to host some kind of festivity says Wharehoka.

In 2016 the Parihaka Puanaga Trust was established “to support the kaupapa of maara (gardening) and to provide increasing opportunity to gather at Parihaka to celebrate the new year,” says Wharehoka.

Puanga is a signal to harvest what is left in the maara and to begin clearing for the planting of kai in the following months says Wharehoka.

The Puanga trust hope to build a sustainable community, to enable the iwi to feed the people when whānau return to Parihaka in the future says Wharehoka. “It will mean that the work and cultural ethics will be already in place.”

Wharehoka says for the people of Parihaka, Puanga also represents a time to kawe mate their loved ones, a long-standing tradition that takes place on the 18th and 19th of June.

The festival will play host to high profile and internationally renowned musician Dave Dobbyn who will headline a concert on Friday the 9th of June, he will be joined by Billy TK Senior who will perform at the festival for the first time alongside local artists.

Saturday will begin with a karanga, traditional ruruku / ritual and tangi o pukaia putatara - acknowledgement to the four winds, followed by the lighting of the fire, a ritual that symbolises the living and life surrounding the tikanga of ahi kaa.

Additional workshops taking place include garden preparation and maintenance, film screenings as well as activities for rangatahi that include Zumba, Ki-o-rahi and Hip Hop classes.

The Crown Apology which will take place on Friday the 9th of June fits well with the kaupapa of puanga, He Puanga Haeata, a new dawn a new beginning for Parihaka as it moves forward.

For more on the festival click here for the Puanga Festival website or click here for the Puanga Facebook page

Photos and video courtesy of Maata Wharehoka and Parihaka Puanga Kai Rau Festival