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Ed Sheeran

Pukekawa karakia ushers Auckland matariki

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Auckland Matariki celebrations have opened with this year's hosts Waikato Tainui highlighting its connection to the city.

About 200 people including King Tuheitia and Auckland mayor Phil Goff gathered in the Auckland Domain for dawn karakia at Pukekawa, the small hill where Potatau Te Wherowhero had a cottage before he became the first Māori king.

Spokesman Rahui Papa told the hui the iwi's version of the Matariki story is that she and Atutahi were born on earth and rose into the heavens.

That's why King Tawhiao, in the depths of war and raupatu, compared himself to a star who would rise again.

"Basically saying Matariki rose from the earth unto the heavens and became the surveyor while Atutahi became the protectorate of the milky way," Mr Papa says.

Auckland Matariki festival includes exhibitions, concerts, wānanga, and from tomorrow until Sunday, hāngi at Britomart's Takutai Square laid down by the crew from The Māori Kitchen.

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