Lanterns to light up Matariki festival

Jacabeth Bartlett-McBride (right) helps Mia Atkinson (15) make her first lantern as part of the Matariki celebrations in Invercargill on Monday.

WHEN the Southland Multicultural Trust was invited to be part of the Matariki celebrations in Invercargill, co-ordinator Meggy Bartlett-McBride had the perfect idea.

She decided to merge one of the main traditions of her home country the Philippines with the Maori New Year rituals.

The trust ran a lantern workshop on Monday with the lanterns to be exhibited during the Matariki Light Festival, which runs at Queens Park from July 2-6.

“Making lanterns is part of the traditions for Christmas in the Philippines so we thought we could do it here as well but with a twist.

“We will make them in different colours and each colour will represent cultures from residents of our Southland community.”

The aim was to create about 30 to 50 lanterns for the event, she said.

Mia Atkinson said it was her first time making lanterns and she thought the experience was quite fun.

“It is good to do stuff to help others.”

Jacabeth Bartlett-McBride said the star shape related to the Matariki stars as the Maori New Year was marked by the reappearance of a cluster of stars known as Matariki, or Pleiades, in the winter sky before dawn.