Matariki Village Market a huge success
”Huarahi pai ki te whakanui i to tatou tau maori hou” (A great way to celebrate our New Year) is how one visitor to Tauranga’s inaugural Matariki Village Market praised the event.
Despite the rain, more than 1500 people filled the Historic Village on Sunday for the market day, which is part of The Incubator Creative Hub’s extensive Matariki programme.
Director of The Incubator Simone Anderson is thrilled so many people filled the streets of the village from 9am. People travelled from Morrinsville, Rotorua, Te Kuwaiti, Hamilton, Te Puke, Auckland, Katikati and beyond, she says.
“The highlights of the market for us were the positive energy and turnout of happy faces and whānau despite the wet weather. It was inspiring to see the sheer number of people supporting Kaupapa Māori creatives. We also had a huge number of people going through galleries and visiting the five art exhibitions that we have on during Matariki.”
The Matariki Village Market is a new concept for Tauranga with a range of stall holders from local to further afield celebrating kaupapa Maori and sustainability.
From clothes to crafts, art and accessories, native plants and wellness products, there was something for everyone to browse and buy.
Simone says the wellness area was popular with “affordable a dollar per minute prices” so everyone could experience different types of healing including matekite, rongoa, mirimiri, bodywork, massage, psychic readers and more.
There was live music throughout the day from local musicians including Asher McMahon, Linda Smith, Dalaye Taoho, The Lalas (Ash Laforteza and Jzoe), Karamaina Thompson & Leigh Hawira.
There was also an outstanding performance from children from a local kapa haka group Te Puna Reo o Pukehinahina Kapahaka.
Simone says the Incubator team worked so hard to bring the idea to fruition.
“Our amazing Okorore Ngā Toi Māori Coordinator Kalena Egan and our Māori liaison Coordinator Ayesha Kee both developed and executed a brilliant inaugural event with an exceptional community kaupapa and showcasing the village at its best.
Simone says there are already calls for another market, with Te Arawa Fisheries, who provided food such as kina for the event, joked, “Can we do it every Saturday?”
“The feedback from visitors and stall holders and practitioners was that they would love to see this regularly. This will be at the very least a flagship Matariki event and we are looking at a summer event.”
One shopper, Nanny from Maketu, left with three bags of “loot.”
“What a fantastic event. Everyone was so happy and vibrant and friendly. I saved my money to come shopping and support local Māori businesses. I’m going home and going to start saving up for the next one.”
Another visitor lavished praise on the event,
“Awesome Mākete Matariki! So many awesome stallholders, interactions, musicians were brilliant and the kai. Congratulations to the Hub. Brilliant team”
Tauranga woman Deb Middleton says she had never seen the village so buzzing.
“I loved the range of crafts and talking to the stallholders about how they started their business. There was such an amazing range of talents on display. I came to pick up a friend but ended up staying ages as there was so much to look at. I bought plants, some crystal accessories and I will definitely be going back to the Okorore Gallery, as there’s a beautiful framed print I have my eye on.”
She had better be quick, people were quickly buying up the artworks on display at the five exhibitions. Louis Mikaere’s Atua Māori collection was completely sold early in the day. Michelle Estell’s stunning Te Iwa o Matariki was also almost sold, as was Michelle Arnold’s Nga Whetu Katoa - a collection of dazzling unique mosaic pieces.
The Moemoeā exhibition showcased a collective of artists including Julie Paama-Pengelly, Linda Munn, Chontelle Hohaia, Areena Smith, Israel Randell, Jera Mae and ArpégeTaratoa
Nixon Mohi’s artwork Nga Whetu O Matariki had people gasping with awe given he is just 11 years old. Popular Tauranga artist Mr G was impressed when he met Nixon and even purchased a work.
The five exhibitions will run until July 5 at Tauranga Historic Village.