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Music News - Stars align with Matariki

01 June 2010 - 0 Comments

Mâori New Year celebration is back

The Mâori New Year is again being celebrated late in June with a one-off concert and gourmet hangi featuring some of the nation’s leading musicians and our top ex-pat chef.

For the second year in a row, celebrated cooks and artists are joining forces to mark Matariki, the Mâori New Year, at Ngaruawahia’s Turangawaewae Marae on Sunday 27 June.

Some of the country’s leading performers, including Hollie Smith, Anika Moa and Don McGlashan join international chef Peter Gordon and comperes The Topp Twins in a four hour music and food spectacular.

Other prominent musicians featuring include indigenous Australian singer and songwriter Emma Donovan of the Gumbaynggirr nation and Kiwis Anna Coddington, Erakah, Hinewehi Mohi with Joel Haines and Ben Tawhiti.

Gordon, a descendant of Ngati Kahunguni ki Wairarapa, is digging in to some fancy kai to again put a modern twist on the heritage hangi food at the marae of King Tuheitia.

He leads a team ofchefs preparing the gourmet hangi to be served to the public and VIP guests who include the Mâori King and local body dignitaries.

Matariki is the Mâori name for the group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster or The Seven Sisters and what is referred to as the traditional Mâori New Year.

Singer/songwriter Hinewehi Mohi says the event provides a unique opportunity to showcase Mâori culture in a contemporary style while still respecting Mâori traditions.

“Peter brings a global perspective to the traditional hangi and the music has a strong Mâori influence too. Introducing modern interpretations demonstrates that Mâori culture is continuously evolving.”

Included is a special performance of Karetao (traditional puppets) by Dr Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal (Tainui) and Taonga Puoro (traditional instruments) players with a contemporary mix of textures and sound effects by Paddy Free (Pitch Black). 

NZ sculptor Brett Graham of Ngati Koroki Kahukura is designing the set and stage backdrop for the event. Graham has represented NZ at the major contemporary art exhibition in Italy ‘Venice Biennale’.

More than 600 guests are being catered for at the event. Peter Gordon’s gourmet hangi menu includes spicy marinated chicken, stuffed pork belly cooked in banana leaves; pork loin topped with a red curry coconut paste and stuffed boned rolled legs of lamb.

Peter Gordon is joined by the Turangawaewae Marae chief cooks.  He says all the dishes have been devised to add a twist to the usual hangi fare.  “We like to take a fusion approach using local ingredients where we can supported by a range of taste enhancements common in Mâori cooking. I am sure guests will be very satisfied with what is both a tasty and a traditional indigenous menu.”

A gifting and planting ceremony of 50 native trees supplied by the ‘Naturally Native Nursery’ and donated by Nga Whenua Rahui will take place at the Marae prior to the event.

The event is sponsored by Air New Zealand, Foodstuffs, NZ Internet Services, Tainui Group Holdings, Te Puni Kokiri, Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Tourism NZ and Waikato District Council.

Tickets: Adults: $100 available through www.rmtc.org.nz/shop/event/event/hangi-2010.htm or phone 0-9-360-0889.  Includes admission, powhiri, gourmet hangi by Peter Gordon & concert.

A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the Auckland-based Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre (RMTC) to go towards providing music therapy for special needs children of school age and younger.

Thanks to www.rmtc.org.nz for this story.

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