Government stands by Matariki funding cuts

The government is confident a funding cut for Matariki will not hamper future celebrations, Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith says.

The coalition government cut funding for Matariki by 45 percent in the 2024-25 Budget.

Goldsmith said it was one of many tough decisions the government had to make.

Despite the funding cut, the government had committed to ongoing funding of $3 million a year for Matariki, he said.

“We think that provides a basis to have continued celebrations and, of course, right across the communities, people are celebrating in their own different ways, so we feel there is a good basis on which to grow.”

Goldsmith and Prime Minister Christopher Luxon were among dignitaries at Matariki observance karakia hosted by Ngāi Tahu at Treble Cone near Wānaka on Friday morning.

Luxon told RNZ’s Matariki programme it was an honour to attend the “wonderful” ceremony.

The holiday was an important chance to stop, and to reflect on the people lost over the year, he said.

“A moment to take a beat to think about the year ahead and actually what are our ambitions and aspirations, as a family and personally.”

He said the funding cuts did not stop communities from getting out and celebrating.

“We’re going through some tough times, we have to make some tough choices across the whole of government spending.”

Pacific spread

Meanwhile, Dr Rangi Mātāmua said he was excited to see the idea of a Matariki public holiday spread across the Pacific.

Mātāmua was invited to Tahiti recently to discuss New Zealand’s public holiday.

The territory had just announced its inaugural Matari’i public holiday – for 20 November 2025.

“It’s really evident to see – because Matariki is right across Polynesia, right across the Pacific – that people are wanting to connect with their localised traditions and practices by following and implementing Matariki.

“Traditional practice that has meaning and purpose in the modern day.”

Mātāmua said he could not reveal where New Zealand’s national commemoration would be held next year.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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