My tongue is too leaden for the beauty of it. I mangle english with enough repetition to know that any attempt at communication outside my primary language will be an insult to that culture.
My beloved daughter however has been in a Māori immersion school since she started and her fluency in Te Reo brings joy to me and makes me feel more like a New Zealander than any other single thing.
That is why listening to the negativity around making Matariki a Public Holiday was so deeply saddening.
This isn’t an economic issue, this isn’t a business issue, it’s a New Zealand issue.
I won’t point out that we have less public holidays than comparable countries and I won’t point out that extended weekends benefit the economy because it’s wrong to defend this gift on either of those grounds.
To celebrate the beauty of Matariki for all is a means for us to grow culturally, spiritually and collectively at a time when those bonds of solidarity are more essential than ever before.
If you can not see the treasure that celebrating Matariki is, I feel genuine pity for you.
This is a moment of real sharing and cultural entwinement without the appropriation.
We will be a stronger, better people for this public holiday.