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There’s an old English proverb that claims a change is as good as a rest.

And there has certainly been a few changes lately, notably the inability to travel overseas for a holiday.

However it’s not all doom and gloom on the rest and relaxation front because this weekend the Government is expected to announce the newest public holiday.

This was actually a Labour Party promise at the last election but it can’t have been a very good one because I completely missed it. I’d put it in the category of cool ideas that people talk about but never actually do.

So, it’s very exciting, even if the new holiday is a little bit complicated.

This holiday will celebrate Matariki – the Maori New Year – and will be officially announced by the PM on Waitangi Day – incidentally Waitangi Day was the most recently added public holiday (1974).

Choosing a date

The new holiday will either be on a Monday or a Friday, but according to  the advisory group set up to be  advisory about the whole thing, it then gets a bit complicated.

The holiday will presumably be timed to coincide with the reappearance of the star cluster Matariki.

However Matariki (otherwise known as Pleiades by those who use Greek names for stars), doesn’t emerge at exactly the same time every year. The best the advisory group can confirm at this stage is that the date will be sometime between June and July.

Now, last time I checked there was no month between June and July so I’m guessing the Employers and Manufacturers Association must have got involved somehow.

The other complicating factor is that not all Maori base their New Year on Matariki. Others use Puanga (Otherwise known as Rigel – which right now is the bright blue one above the saucepan).

Anyway, the expert panel of Maori astronomers and other knowledgeable people are going to come up with the next 30 years’ worth of dates so we know when to book our flights to Rarotonga.

The exact date is obviously important to those who only really want a day off in the middle of winter – and let’s face it, it is a long time between stat days at that time of year.

How to celebrate

It is actually quite a cool event – kind of a combination between Halloween and the regular New Year.

For those seeking a bit more meaning in their life, it marks three distinct things.

Firstly, it is a time to remember those who have died since the last Matariki.

Secondly it is a time to feast and thirdly it is a time to plan for the future.

For others, no doubt it’s a great excuse to eat to excess, drink too much and blow pumpkins up with fireworks.

And of course you get a day off which is a universally welcome concept.

Other changes

Clearly 2020 was a time of great reflection and I was not spared from  this sudden onset of navel gazing and serious contemplation.

Therefore this is my last week as the editor of The Weekend Sun. From now on all compliments and complaints should be referred to my replacement, who conveniently shares the same first name – Dan Sheridan.

He was actually one of three Daniels present at Sun Media when I arrived two years ago, which made life very difficult for everyone.

You couldn’t just ask Daniel a question in the newsroom without three heads bobbing up like meerkats from behind our various partitions.

Anyway, Other Daniel disappeared over to the UK but has returned and is about to be released back into Middle Earth after his obligatory stint in isolation.

For those cheering for my departure, don’t be too hasty. I will continue to write this column until someone weirder comes along or I am sacked for not being correct about something important.

Ignorance is bliss

Which reminds me – or rather an intelligent and informed reader by the name of Brian advised me – that I may  have misled readers last week about Legionnaires Disease.

I may or may not have suggested that people can catch it from air conditioning units, which is technically correct but only if you go around sniffing the fumes off the cooling tower on the roof.

There is apparently no risk of people catching it from the air that is circulating into their rooms.

That will no doubt be a massive relief to people so I am happy to be the bearer of good news.

You can turn the air-con’ back on now.

Have a good Waitangi Weekend and watch out for wallabies.

daniel@thesun.co.nz

Daniel Hutchinson
From The Hutch