New research, commissioned by Bookabach, revealed 40 per cent of all Kiwis are keen to know more about Matariki and ways to mark the occasion.
Bookabach commissioned the survey to find out how much people know about the MƒÅori New Year and what it meant to all New Zealanders ahead of it being marked as a new public holiday in 2022.
“We know that Kiwis embrace public holidays with baches in most parts of the country being booked on average close to 100 days in advance with most popular destinations being Waikato, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Auckland, Wellington and Otago.
“Whilst Matariki has one year until it is recognised and celebrated as a public holiday and added to the calendar, we are already seeing families and friends embrace winter weekends away to spend time together,” says Simone Scoppa, travel expert at Bookabach.
The survey found 57 per cent of New Zealanders are keen to take a trip away with friends and family this winter despite the new public holiday being added from 2022. The most booked areas for Matariki this year (June 19 to July 11) are Otago, Queenstown and Nelson with travellers booking 32 days in advance on average. The most searched amenities for this time of year include fireplaces and hot tubs.
What was most interesting from the research, according to Scoppa, was the large number of New Zealanders keen to know more about Matariki (40 per cent), that 19 per cent are more likely to attend a Matariki event than in previous years and nearly a quarter (24 per cent) say Matariki becoming a public holiday in 2022 has increased their understanding of what it is. The survey also revealed that 68 per cent of Kiwis embrace and are happy for the MƒÅori New Year to be marked with a public holiday.
To help travellers embrace a last minute winter escape, Bookabach have put together a list of destinations that have baches left to book for a weekend getaway in June and July:
Where you can still find a bach:
Bay of Plenty
Bay of Plenty is where families can enjoy plentiful good times together from dining out to Mount Maunganui’s hot water pools. In central Tauranga, travellers will find seven majestic poupou (carved figures) representing the cluster of stars known to MƒÅori as Matariki. Created by local master carver, James Tapiata, the seven carvings represent the navigational aspect of Matariki, the travels undertaken by MƒÅori, food and harvesting, water and its healing properties.
It’s little surprise that Queenstown has limited baches this winter given the opportunity for Kiwis to visit the tourism mecca sans international visitors. For those who get in quick to book a bach before they are booked out, head to nearby Wanaka for fireworks, hangi, workshops and performances on Saturday 24 July.
Families can seek out some warmer winter days in Hawke’s Bay. The region, famed for its wines and art deco architecture, is also home to one of New Zealand’s Great Nine walks. For Matariki, families can head along to a free event at the ƒÄtea a Rangi – a celestial star compass based on a traditional Pacific Island concept to teach traditional navigation. From 21 to 25 June, there will be free viewings and korero (talks) of the Matariki star cluster.
Thanks to Southland’s low light pollution, families who holiday here have a good chance of viewing the Matariki star constellation. After exploring the region's ruggereed beaches and wildlife, families can head over to Stewart Island/Rakiura, the second island in the world to be named an International Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2019. The status is awarded to areas with high quality starry nights and ensures pollution levels are controlled to safeguard the skies.
The Otago region is proving popular with Kiwis this winter with around 20% of baches already booked out. But for those with quick fingers who book now, can soak up the Central Otago Rail Trail, wineries and snow capped mountain views. Visitors during Matariki can head to Dunedin for the Puaka Matariki Festival (2 – 16 July 2021). Unique to Dunedin, the festival marks the MƒÅori New Year with a citywide programme of community and digital events that promise to celebrate wƒÅnaka (learning) and whanaukataka (community spirit).