Matariki

July 30th, 2009 at 9:28 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

The Maori Party has asked Parliament to create a public holiday to celebrate , the Maori New Year, but it isn’t going to happen.

The National Party won’t support Rahui Katene’s bill because it doesn’t think a holiday is necessary.

I think it is a pity National won’t at least support the bill going to select committee. It would have been good to let the public have their say.

I don’t support the imposition of a 12th paid public holiday on employers. It would take us in the opposite direction to increasing productivity growth.

But I am not at all opposed to replacing an existing holiday with Matariki. A uniquely New Zealand holiday appeals more to me than some of our existing ones.

My views on our generally is:

  • New Years x 2 – keep
  • Provincial Holiday – would like to move at least the urban ones (Akl/Wgtn) to the same day but love having it in late January.
  • Waitangi Day – keep and Mondayise (allow day off on Monday if at weekend)
  • Easter x 2 – keep
  • ANZAC Day – keep and Mondayise
  • Queen’s Birthday – scrap. Not her birthday and not even UK celebrate it. Replace with Matariki.
  • Labour Day – scrap as irrelevant. Replace with New Zealand Day on 26 September (and Mondayise). This should be our equivalent of US 4th of July.
  • Xmas Day x 2 – keep

That would keep it to 11 holidays.

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69 Responses to “Matariki”

  1. david (2,552 comments) says:

    what is Waitangi Day if it isn’t “uniquely New Zealand”?

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  2. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    Fully agree with that, but think that ANZAC day should be a full close down day.

    Queens Birthday is a joke. Might as well have a Diana Day. More popular.

    Or Cheeky Philips Keebab Day?

    Or Charles’s talking to trees day, or Duchess (Ex) of Porks diet day.

    Or A Winston Peters day, when we all pretend to give other peoples money to Charity. Tui!

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  3. Brian Smaller (4,025 comments) says:

    The UK may not celebrate a holiday on QB but I like the tradition. If I had to do away with one public holiday to be replace by matariki it would be Labour Weekend.

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  4. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “Queen’s Birthday – scrap. Not her birthday and not even UK celebrate it. Replace with Matariki.”

    why on earth do you believe ‘Matariki’ is any more relevant?

    [DPF: It is a celebration unique to New Zealand]

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  5. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    ANZAC day, keep and make a full day.

    Keep Queens Birthday, or is European history in NZ now a dirty word?

    Labour day, keep as an important reminder that human rights have been fought for.

    Waitangi day, keep and make our national day.

    Matariki, ADD a new national holiday.

    Provincial holidays should be kept as they are as they are tightly bound to various A&P shows

    One more day is hardly going to make a productivity black hole.

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  6. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    Labour weekend has a fantastic food and wine festival on it in Gisborne!

    To be honest agree, though New Zealand day should be October, whilst there is a massive gap weather is generally way better in October than Labour.

    Guessing National dont want a backlash from the more red neck parts of NZ, but Queens Birthday, seriously why.

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  7. coge (180 comments) says:

    Having a mid winter public holiday appeals to me, they benefit from having one in the Northern hemisphere. NZ need it’s own unique version of Yuletide. People would benefit from a day off during a dark & harsh winter.

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  8. reddeath26 (97 comments) says:

    @Patrick Starr-
    Yes curse those Maori for thinking their culture is worth a damn. Although how can you seriously not think that something as important as this can be irrelevant to New Zealand society? I agree very strongly with the stance taken by DPF.

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  9. gravedodger (1,528 comments) says:

    The only date that I feel very strongly about is April 25th and I agree with GM it should be the full day and, not transferable ie at weekend with no day in lieu. I guess it is my most sacred day.

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  10. nickle (29 comments) says:

    I think we need a national day that is a true celebration, and I quite like the Matariki idea. It also would be nice to have another winter holiday, because the lack of them also makes winter drag (we do have a disproportionate amount of summer holidays). Labour day is admittedly irrelevant, but it is generally the signal to we Kiwi’s that summer is excitingly just around the corner!

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  11. Graeme Edgeler (3,274 comments) says:

    My views on our public holidays generally is:

    Easter x 2 – keep

    Just 2? Surely Sunday should be added :-)

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  12. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    Scrap Christmas and add the days on to the New Years holidays.

    Scrap Easter as well, then you have one day for Matariki and another day for somewhere else in the middle of the year. Perhaps we could call it a Bank Holiday.

    If you have to, make Christmas and Easter optional private holidays that employers cannot force church attendees to work on.

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  13. ben (2,414 comments) says:

    What is 26 September? Your birthday David? :-)

    [DPF: No I am 11/9. 26th is Dominion Day]

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  14. Luke H (73 comments) says:

    Can we drop the shops-must-close-on-these-holidays and-you-certainly-can’t-sell-alcohol blah blah religious provisions as well?

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  15. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “[DPF: It is a celebration unique to New Zealand]”

    a celebration for New Zealand, or a celebration for very few?
    Maori cant even agree on it. Some celebrate it when pleiades is in the dawn sky, others after the full moon rises, and for others the dawn of the next new moon.

    I feel a referendum coming on………………”Should Matariki as part of good politically correct observance be a public holiday in New Zealand?”

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  16. Cerium (23,277 comments) says:

    I hope you make a submission on that to the Holidays Act review David.

    Anzac day was on Saturday this year. It’s on Sunday next year. 2011 it is on Easter Monday.

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  17. PaulL (5,977 comments) says:

    Since we already have a “Labour” day, why not have a national day called “National Day.” Surely it would be hard for John Key to say no to?

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  18. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    It is interesting that the republicans keep pushing to have a part of MY heritage taken away from me.

    Can you imagine how they would get on if they were so desperate to remove anything Maori or attempt to take away something that Maori could class as their heritage?

    My Heritage is a important to me as it is to Maori, seek to take it from me at your peril.

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  19. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    DPH » Labour Day – scrap as irrelevant. Replace with New Zealand Day on 26 September (and Mondayise). This should be our equivalent of US 4th of July.

    Why so seppo centric?

    Why not make it our equivalent of Bastille Day? Or Australia Day?

    Why, in fact, does it have to be our equivalent of anything, rather than just being ours?

    Surely, just as July 4 is the US’s founding Day, jan 26 for ths skippies, then for NZ it must, and can only be, Feb 6. Just change the name, ditch the tongue poking and get on with the barbie!

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  20. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    @reddeath26
    we probably already have the most over promoted and over financed minority culture in the world. When is enough enough?

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  21. Seán (397 comments) says:

    DPF – agree with you, particularly on replacing the defunct Queens Birthday with Matariki. As (FotC) Murray’s posters say: “Why not?”

    Not so sure on Monday-ising Waitangi and ANZAC but that is a separate argument. For now, it’s a shame the bill doesn’t actually propose to replace an existing public holiday – that might be enough to get National Party support (and I would hope they put productivity ahead of colonial nonsense, but who knows, they have reinstated Knighthoods afterall).

    Replacing Labour Day with NZ Day – good idea!

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  22. gingercrush (153 comments) says:

    Queen’s birthday is very important.It celebrates our relationship with the great Monarch of Great Britain. Matariki really has no relevance.

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  23. Seán (397 comments) says:

    expat said “Provincial holidays should be kept as they are as they are tightly bound to various A&P shows”
    Yeah, right, the A&P Show. If that’s what you think NZ should be defined by then you are truly a fool. Sure, it’s part of who we are, but the John Deere tractor show is not what I would advertise NZ as being about. If that’s your rationale then why not have a national day based on the Otara market. We need to project more than mere tractors and swine. Matariki may not be for everyone but it comes from NZ’s origins, same with ANZAC. We can retain the provincial day but I agree with DPF that the it should be moved to be the same day nationwide.

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  24. Seán (397 comments) says:

    gingacrush said “Queen’s birthday is very important.It celebrates our relationship with the great Monarch of Great Britain. Matariki really has no relevance.”

    - what relationship do you speak of? Please explain. Is it real, or a mere formality?

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  25. kelsey (35 comments) says:

    Labour Day – scrap as irrelevant. Replace with New Zealand Day on 26 September (and Mondayise). This should be our equivalent of US 4th of July.

    New Zealand day really has to be in the summer to be sensible in my view. There’s nothing more “New Zealand” than a day at the beach with your family which you can’t do in september.

    I have no issue with Matariki as I would treat it like the religious holidays – a chance to have a holiday, with a nod to a piece of cultural flotsam that doesn’t really impact how I have my holiday.

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  26. Bryan Spondre aka The Link Whore (225 comments) says:

    Scrap all public holidays and add 10 days to annual leave. Take them when it suits employee and employer. Job done.

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  27. Seán (397 comments) says:

    big bruv said “It is interesting that the republicans keep pushing to have a part of MY heritage taken away from me.”

    Well I’ll tell you something bigbruv, if you heritage lies with Britain, than you are more than welcome to go back to Britain.
    See ya.

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  28. KiwiGreg (3,211 comments) says:

    @ Bryan agree 100%

    @DPF you’ve increased the number of holidays by “Mondayising” them.

    RE Matariki – you can keep your imaginary new year.

    [DPF: Only in years where they are at weekends. When the idea of a public holiday is to have a holiday, it seems silly to not actually have a holiday two years out of seven]

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  29. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Bryan Spondre aka The Link Whore said “Scrap all public holidays and add 10 days to annual leave. Take them when it suits employee and employer. Job done.”

    - Brian, not everyone has a job nor is a link whore. Besides by nullifying everything that is relevant to NZers (other than the defunct Queens birthday which is not relevant anyway) makes you as boring as a John Deere tractor which ‘expat’ wishes to continue to worship.

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  30. MT_Tinman (3,043 comments) says:

    I fail to see any reason to have public holidays at all (except ANZAC day).

    Nor do I observe any (although finding somewhere to eat while working Xmas day is bloody near impossible).

    Having noted that observing ANZAC day and the father of MT_Tinman’s birthday (Feb 6) is reasonable as long as pubs are open (whoops – there goes the “holiday”).

    The rest are based on arbitrary bullshit.

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  31. Ruby (110 comments) says:

    I think it is a pity National won’t at least support the bill going to select committee. It would have been good to let the public have their say.

    Heck, why have First Reading at all then? Why not just let all bills, regardless of how bullshit, go to Select Committee? FFS.

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  32. Seán (397 comments) says:

    MyNameIsJack said “Why, in fact, does it have to be our equivalent of anything, rather than just being ours?”

    - Hmm, equivalent doesn’t necessarily mean equal. I think DPF’s point is that we should have an “independence day” (or similar) along the lines of the US’s 4th of July. i.e. a day to celebrate a separation from our former colonial masters. A day that defined NZ as being it’s own, rather than some outpost of Britain. I applaud this, but whether we should use Feb-6th (a different matter really) or Sep-26 is up for debate. I prefer both as as public holidays as DPF advocates.

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  33. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Matariki’s a bunch of bullshit though, maori mate of mine had never heard of it when the PR campaign first started a few years back, he asked his grandma, she hadn’t heard of it either, and she knew all the traditions. If we must have a new holiday, make it something real.

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  34. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Empty-Tinman said “I fail to see any reason to have public holidays at all (except ANZAC day).”

    - oh whoops, you forgot to say why! (and “arbitrary bullshit” is not enough unless you are describing yourself)

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  35. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    I’m constantly amazed at how much New Zealanders hate about their own country. This is one of the reasons it’s going down the drain – anything that doesn’t fit an individual’s comfort zone is automatically to be derided and shat upon, and the very idea of celebrating anything as a nation seems to be impossible for so many people.

    I lived in Korea for a while, and was constantly annoyed by their over-the-top, rabid nationalism – but I’d take that over our small-minded, petty, everything is worthless miserablism.

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  36. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Put it away said “and she knew all the traditions.”

    - Well that makes it all right then… Hell, even I knew about it as a white boy from West Auckland. Your mates grandma should get her head out of the knitting and take notice of what’s real around her. If she chooses not to then that fine, but don’t use her reclusiveness as an argument.

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  37. gingercrush (153 comments) says:

    My ancestors are British. Its likely most people here are British. When they came to New Zealand it was under the helm of the Monarch. Its an on-going relationship and sure there isn’t much to that relationship now days but it is certainly a historical one. Rather like Waitangi Day.

    Personally,I’m quite happy to have a discussion on Republicanism as long as when we make that shift we also have a proper look at our constitutional issues. And please leave it tillwe get another Monarch. She’s been ours for50 years.

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  38. Bryan Spondre aka The Link Whore (225 comments) says:

    Sean: transferring the stat days to annual leave doesn’t “nullifying everything that is relevant to NZers” it just gives us all choice. Those who wish to celebrate the existing events associated with the current stat holidays still can but those of us who don’t recognize those particular events won’t have to be inconvenienced by them.

    Having been self-employed and employed in roughly equal measure I have found stat holidays consistently inconvenient. I particularly object to having to being forced to take time off because of primitive pagan festivals.

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  39. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Actually transmogrifier, you are dead right. I have been in other countries and indeed (like Korea no doubt) they seem over the top somewhat with their nationalism. But it is better than our negativism and penchant for hanging onto the apron strings of mother Britain. Maybe one day we will be happy with ourselves, who knows.

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  40. Bryan Spondre aka The Link Whore (225 comments) says:

    [DPF: Only in years where they are at weekends. When the idea of a public holiday is to have a holiday, it seems silly to not actually have a holiday two years out of seven]

    Good point DPF. Would seem reasonable to cut them back to ten when converting to annual leave.

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  41. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    I’ll just add one thing to my post above: thank God for Anzac Day. It’s the only thing that really demonstrates that we have any pride in our country, the only thing that most people can agree upon and not turn into another depressive “Why do we even have it?” complaint about anything this country does that seems so rife.

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  42. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Sean – which white guy told you about it ?

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  43. Seán (397 comments) says:

    gingercrush: your ancestors are British. That’s fine, no problem with that as long as you are law-abiding. But then you said: “Its likely most people here are British” FAIL! (to quote WOBH). Go read a few recent census results. The last one was 2006, not 1906.

    I agree with you there is a historical connection with Britain and its crown but this is a connection for the history books, not today’s public holiday celebrations. Because today’s celebrations need to be relevant for NZ. Times change.

    We cannot and should not forget our past, but neither should we hang onto it without good reason (ANZAC is good reason). People change, generations change. The monarchy is already history in all but name. Lets make a note, but move on.

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  44. Seán (397 comments) says:

    “Put it away” asked “Sean – which white guy told you about it ?” – I can’t recall how I found out about Matariki in the same way I can’t recall how I initially learnt of ANZAC day. Or Show day etc. What’s your point?

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  45. Seán (397 comments) says:

    ‘Bryan Spondre aka The Link Whore’ said “I particularly object to having to being forced to take time off because of primitive pagan festivals.”

    - oh, oh, I sense a Tui billboard coming on….

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  46. Bryan Spondre aka The Link Whore (225 comments) says:

    Actually many people would be better off if the stat hols were converted into annual leave as it would become 12% of annual salary/wages. If you did overtime you would be eligible for more than the current 10/11 days and even better you might be able to trade the time for cash. No real downside.

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  47. BlairM (2,304 comments) says:

    For those who doggedly support Queen’s Birthday:

    1) Should we move it to the Queen’s actual birthday in April? Why have it on a meaningless, arbitrary day in June, especially when the original purpose of the “official” birthday was to have it fall in the English summer?

    2) Should we ask Britain to adopt Queen’s birthday as a public holiday, so we don’t look so silly?

    These are genuine questions. You want to keep the holiday, but you don’t tell us why these anomalies aren’t important.

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  48. Ross Miller (1,679 comments) says:

    Good post by BlairM.

    Agree re ANZAC Day.

    Labour Day …. In this PC world it surely should be balanced by a National, ACT, Green and ‘None of the Above’ Days

    Matariki …. bit like Chinese New Year or Deepavali so why not as long as we drop another in lieu.

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  49. Cerium (23,277 comments) says:

    I’m all for having an Independence Day. First, we have to become independent.

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  50. Cerium (23,277 comments) says:

    “Actually many people would be better off if the stat hols were converted into annual leave as it would become 12% of annual salary/wages. If you did overtime you would be eligible for more than the current 10/11 days and even better you might be able to trade the time for cash. No real downside.”

    Most people don’t get paid 8% of annual earnings. Only those working on a casual basis, and on liable gross since your anniversary as a part of a final pay. Most get paid holidays at their current pay rate or their last twelve month average rate, whichever is the greater. And those who don’t have a standard pay get the best of four week average or twelve month average.

    Public holidays are paid differently. If you work on a public holiday you should get time and a half which is better than annual leave rates (almost always).

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  51. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    If we want a maori holiday, what about a Maori Battallion day ? Better something real than some bullshit sesqui-like farce made up by some white beaurocrat. Find some appropriate anniversary date in the middle of winter for it and we’re set.

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  52. starboard (2,489 comments) says:

    What is 26 September? Your birthday David?

    [DPF: No I am 11/9. 26th is Dominion Day]

    what !!.. 11/9…thats 9/11 in reverse !! OMG…you were involved in bringing down the twin towers!!..quick someone tell phil whore !!!..conspiracy!!…yawn….

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  53. big bruv (13,552 comments) says:

    Sean

    How would you feel about denying Maori their heritage?

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  54. Philonz (91 comments) says:

    My heritage involves people desperately trying to get away from Queen and country. A lot of the early settlers here were Irish, Scots or trying to escape the class system etc in the Mother country. So lets ditch that pointless birthday and bring on Matariki.

    To be honest i kind of can’t be bothered with the constitutional arguments that come along with republicanism so am pretty ambivalent really. Extra holidays would be nice though.

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  55. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    “Actually many people would be better off if the stat hols were converted into annual leave as it would become 12% of annual salary/wages. If you did overtime you would be eligible for more than the current 10/11 days and even better you might be able to trade the time for cash. No real downside.”

    There are massive downsides. Public holidays help ensure there are times in the year that the majority of people can get together and celebrate time together. Christmas whilst most / allot do not believe in christianty provides a time where family can likely all have the time off and celebrate together. That is important.

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  56. Cerium (23,277 comments) says:

    “A lot of the early settlers here were Irish, Scots or trying to escape the class system etc in the Mother country. ”

    A lot of the English were also trying to do the same thing.

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  57. grumpyoldhori (2,416 comments) says:

    Keep ANZAC day as a paid holiday.
    Dump all the others including those religious days that have to be paid by employers.
    Oh, and dump celebrating birthdays as well.

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  58. johnbt (90 comments) says:

    So Matariki would be a Maori day off, but for everyone ?

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  59. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Don’t really care how many holidays we get, I just wish the public holidays were tax free. Many chose to work or have to work on public holidays why can’t these be tax free days for those that don’t get these days off. Why do those that work for the PS, big business get paid to take a day off but us poor farmers only get the privilege of giving the government it’s cut for our days work. I know that those that get the day off pay tax but they don’t have to work for this privilege. Of course there would be howls of outrage, like, unworkable, but the bloody government is not slow on finding anything else we may have to pay tax on i.e fringe benefit tax.

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  60. Jack5 (4,818 comments) says:

    Sean said at 11.0: “Well I’ll tell you something bigbruv, if you heritage lies with Britain, than you are more than welcome to go back to Britain.
    See ya.

    I guess our English language, our legal system, and our political system are among the heritage that underpin NZ.

    Like you, Sean, I have Irish heritage. However, I happily acknowledge the Irish wouldn’t be in NZ if the Brits hadn’t colonised the place.

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  61. Sam Buchanan (502 comments) says:

    “…the very idea of celebrating anything as a nation seems to be impossible for so many people.”

    Probably because there is so little common heritage. We were fighting each other a hundred years ago. We have immigrants fromm all over. We have major class divides. What do we hold in common (apart from going tramping?)?

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  62. Bob L deBerry (1 comment) says:

    Wow,I’m blown away with how aggressive most of the above comments are . I think to celebrate matariki is a brilliant idea and better still to have it replace the Queens Birthday,which is totally irrelevant.Below is a Letter that I sent to the Otago Daily Times ,and that they saw fit to print with a banner headline !
    Dear Sir,
    I see that there has been a private Members bill drawn out that proposes a public holiday to celebrate the middle of winter ,referred to by its Maori name of Matariki,a beautiful word .Now this is a great opportunity for the whole country, i hope that they grab the chance .
    Most of our celebrations occur at warm times of the year ,viz, Christmas ,New Year,Waitangi day ,even Easter, when we don’t particularly need cheering up ,and certainly don’t need huge cooked meals ! There is nothing in the middle of winter to brighten up the generally depressive weather and definitely depressive population .The Northern hemisphere has got it right !!
    Now what I would like to suggest is that we take it one step further ,ban Guy Fawkes back to his musty cellar
    and take the period of Matariki as our time for fireworks . This will have many advantages not the least of will be bonfires at 5-6pm [kids in bed by 8] ,no accidental grass fires and the chance to congregate around a nice warm fire . What a beautiful way to welcome back the sun !
    Although it is a Maori Party bill,and Matariki is an appropriate name ,I see it as a universal celebration for the whole country to enjoy together ,a wonderfully wild and wacky way to warm up our spirits with bonfires and hot wine .
    Go for it you politicians,esp.Mr Rahui Katene,do something positive for the population for a change !
    Sincerely ….Bob L deBerry Cambrian
    So don’t give up Rahui ,there’s lots of people out here behind you !!!!!

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  63. Steve (4,519 comments) says:

    Have as many holidays as you wish, just don’t expect the employer or the taxpayer to pay you

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  64. Steve (4,519 comments) says:

    Anyway how much are Maori going to sue Subaru for? for using Matariki.
    Only fair. Riverbeds, seabeds, airspace, water, air, surely space must follow?

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  65. Tauhei Notts (1,642 comments) says:

    Put it away suggests Maori Battalion Day.
    I disagree as that battalion’s dreadful treatment of prisoners might become more widely known. I don’t think we need to raise that awful picture.

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  66. Anthony (785 comments) says:

    The country closes down between Christmas and New Year and most people take their holidays then or in January – yet the best weather is invariably in February. Christmas in Wellington often feels more like Winter!

    Why don’t we take at least one day from New Year and add it to a Waitangi Day weekend and generally encourage a shift in summer holidaying to February? Christmas could become just a two day holiday for schools – with school holidays starting proper in mid January.

    Why are Easter dates still based on a pre Christian Pagan festival that took its date from Moon cycles? In other words, we change the date of Easter every year because that’s what was decided 2,000 odd years ago!

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  67. from174 (10 comments) says:

    When you say the country – you mean the people you hang out with?? the places you shop?? Coz I live in the “country” and prior to that worked at processing the product from the “country” and it is a 24/7 job for over 300 days a year. We have yet to find cows that want to stop milking for the Xmas/NY period.

    We incur costs as soon as there is a new holiday – and as a Celt am in favour of solstice. So scrap Labour day and whip up a storm for Matariki if that is the consensus. But please don’t add another 1.5 days cost to the business we run (time and half and the day off).
    I am in favour of moving to a longer break over the winter – and my mums birthday is near Queens Birthday so we could make it a 4 day weekend in June and name it after her… Clare

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  68. reddeath26 (97 comments) says:

    @big bruv-
    I surprisingly agree with you for once, and acknowledge I was one of the posters here who demonstrated amazing hypocrisy in trying to celebrate one groups heritage while denying the same right to another.

    @Patrick Starr-
    So your assertion is out of all the oppressed peoples in the world, they are the least oppressed? Much like many other colonized peoples they have shared the common fate of forced assimilation and ethnocide. Although I certainly acknowledge that highly positive moves have been made in the past few decades to address this.

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  69. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    @reddeath26
    “So your assertion is out of all the oppressed peoples in the world, they are the least oppressed”

    your words, not mine and depends how you view oppression – the glass half empty/ half full?
    get over yourself if you think maori are in any way ‘oppressed’ in this country – quite the contrary

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