Celebrating Matariki

20 April 2017 / News

This year’s Chamber Music New Zealand celebration of Matariki promises to be “a sensory feast that re-affirms our place in the universe”. We’re proud to be joining taonga pūoro artist Alistair Fraser, Te Reo Māori singer-songwriter Ariana Tikao, and talented young players from Porirua’s Virtuoso Strings Orchestra for a series of free family concerts in June at Wellington Museum and Pātaka Art + Museum.

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades or The Seven Sisters. In one tradition, Matariki is the mother surrounded by her six daughters, Tupu-a-nuku, Tupu-a-rangi, Waitī, Waitā, Waipuna-a-rangi and Ururangi. The word Matariki literally means ‘tiny eyes’ (mata riki) or ‘eyes of God’ (mata ariki).

For Māori, the rise of Matariki and the sighting of the next new moon heralds the start of a new year. Traditionally, the success of the coming season's crop was judged by the visibility of Matariki. It was thought that the brighter the stars were, the warmer the season and the more productive the crop would be. In the past, Matariki was seen as an important time for family to gather and reflect on the past and the future. Today, the importance of Matariki is in celebrating the unique place in which we live and giving respect to the land we live on.

Taonga pūoro player Alistair Fraser has been making and playing traditional Māori instruments since 2000, when he attended workshops run by Brian Flintoff, Richard Nunns and the late Hirini Melbourne.  Alistair now plays, produces and composes for taonga pūoro in a wide variety of settings. Singer-songwriter Ariana Tikao draws on folk and pop styles for her music, with a strong emphasis on Māori chant.  Ariana was a featured vocalist on John Psathas’ recent international extravaganza No Man’s Land and also featured as a vocalist and taonga pūoro player for the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in 2015 for Kenneth Young’s In Paradisum

The Virtuoso Strings Orchestra rehearses each week in Cannons Creek, Porirua, and is an unauditioned orchestra open to any member of the public. It is run by the Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust which provides free instruments and free tuition to students at low decile schools in Porirua.

Find out more about these free concerts


Latest News

Quartet in Lockdown

22 April 2020     /     News

We're used to making music together and travelling to perform for audiences around New Zealand and overseas, but the COVID-19 crisis has meant huge changes for us all. In New Zealand, we are currently into the fourth week of lockdown – a position many of you reading from around the...
Read More

Digital Concerts

21 April 2020     /     News

Late last year we tidied up a bit backstage, adding more videos and audio tracks to our digital channels. Until we can perform publicly again, there are plenty of playlists and short clips to explore.
Read More

Stunning student performances conclude 2020 Adam Summer School

25 February 2020     /     News

Last weekend the Adam Summer School concluded another year – once again on a high note. Across nine days of more than a hundred coaching and practice sessions, public masterclasses, community concerts and Feldenkrais classes each of the students in our seven ensembles worked incredibly hard.
Read More

The New Zealand String Quartet gratefully acknowledges its sponsors and funders