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Crowd braves the chill for Matariki festival

Flagstaff Team

Star power… Taenga Durie performs at Bayswater School’s Matariki celebrations.

Hundreds rugged up and headed to Bayswater School for its Matariki Festival, doubling the turnout for the last festival, in 2019.

Close to 2000 attendees were greeted by fairy-light displays draped throughout the school courtyard, and perfect conditions to celebrate Matariki.

Children enjoyed games, crafts, and face-painting, and food trucks were supported by many hungry customers.

“The vibe was so good,” says festival organiser Norah Wilson, “We couldn’t have asked for a better night.”

Highlights of the evening included a performance by Tom Scrase on the taonga pūoro, and the mihi whakatau by Danny Watson and Aru Waihirere and, of course, the kapa haka.

Starry, starry night… (from left) Petra Wehrle, Tiana Mita and Breah Mclean were up front for Bayswater School’s senior kapa haka group

Several groups from peninsula schools performed throughout the evening, concluding with the Bayswater senior kapa haka.

In an especially moving moment, two groups of whānau stood up from the audience to tautoko the group with a haka of their own.

“It was stunning” says Wilson, “It’s exactly why Bayswater does this festival – to celebrate the Māori New Year together.”

Wrapping up the night, the highly anticipated bonfire was set alight to the delight of the crowd.

Accompanied by a thrilling performance from Thomas Basset, families cozied up to the blaze and children gleefully chased dancing embers, a warming close to a beautiful Matariki celebration.

“We really enjoyed ourselves, and are very grateful to the community for all the support and aroha,” says Wilson.

Proceeds from the festival will go towards refurbishing the school’s bike shed and building a new junior playground.

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