A big thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate Matariki on Saturday the 18th at the Museum Volkenkunde in Leiden. It was an amazing day for many reasons. We were blessed with beautiful weather, which is never guaranteed in this country. We had an extraordinary number of people turn up to celebrate with us – around 200, which was much more than we expected. And together, we created an atmosphere that was full of love, fun, warmth and appreciation for Te Ao Maori and Aotearoa New Zealand.

This was a fully bottom-up, community driven initiative put together by volunteers from Kiwis in the Netherlands, Kiwis in Holland, the Waka Crew, and with huge support from the New Zealand Embassy Team and the Museum Volkenkunde. Everyone who worked on this did it next to their day jobs. And we all did it for love, the appreciation of community and honestly, because it felt like the right thing to do.

If you weren’t there, you might now be wondering (hopefully!), what did I miss?

The day opened with a beautiful Maori powhiri (welcome), that included a karanga, welcome speeches and a haka from the Waka Crew.

Then a schedule of activities brought Te Ao Maori to life in a way not often seen on this side of the world – visitors learnt how to paddle a waka in canals around Leiden, learnt to sing waiata (Maori songs) and took haka workshops.

The kids’ activity area ran through the whole afternoon, and was full of parents and young kids learning more about Matariki, with activities that included kite making as well as colouring in.

And the BBQ! Not only a sausage sizzle, but a proper big gourmet feed for all of us. Next to a classic snag and sauce, we had lamb burgers, venison burgers, veggie burgers, mussels, kumara, coleslaw, all put together by the Kiwis in Holland crew.

We finished with a final korero, some reflection, a few closing words, and of course a raffle! (Because it’s never a kiwi event without a raffle!).

It was an incredible day of community and belonging. We loved being part of the organization that brought Matariki to life, so far away from Aotearoa! A big thank you again to all of those involved and hopefully we can celebrate like this again next year.


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