There is a natural logic that the transition from one year to the next is marked by the maximum tilt of the earth, our furthest distance from the sun. In Europe the pagan mid-winter festival was combined with Christianity; the British Empire’s calendar was eventually overlaid on the opposite side of the globe, obscuring Aotearoa’s seasonal rhythms.
However, the old ways are resurfacing. Matariki is increasing in prominence as an authentic, homegrown celebration of the passing of the year. Isthmus first introduced Matariki in 2008 as one of a series of staff-initiated culture nights, which grew in subsequent years to become a dinner for the whole studio and their whanau.
Five years ago we lost a couple of public holidays to the weekend (before ‘mondayisation’) so Isthmus introduced Matariki Day for all staff, an extra day off and dinner with whanau in the evening.
This year, for the first time, we have extended our Matariki season to include our clients, collaborators and friends. Thanks to those that joined us in Auckland and Wellington for an evening of waiata, food, drinks and conversation.
Matariki provides a punctuation mark in the middle of the long dark winter; a time to both reflect and look forward, but most of all a time be present with one another, enjoy each other’s company and deepen relationships.