Illustrated by Emilie Geant
The Maori new year is marked in June by the appearance of the constellation Matarki (or pleiades) and celebrates Matariki throughout the year as we mark more than 200 years of cultural exchange between Aotearoa New Zealand and France.
“Matariki is a time to treasure relationships. The great French navigator Jean Francois De Surville made landfall in Aotearoa and met Maori French chiefs in 1769, beginning a long exchange between France and New Zealand. Early French explorers, naturalists, artists, and pioneer missionaries were followed by settlers and entrepreneurs, winemakers and rugby players, visitors and scholars – a broad diversity of interests link our people today. From Gallipoli to the Western Front, through the Second World War, to peacekeeping operations around the world, our two people have stood together.”