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Green Party joins calls for Matariki to be made a public holiday

The Green Party is pushing for Matariki, or Māori New Year, to become a public holiday in New Zealand.

Source: 1 NEWS

Co-leader and Māori development spokesperson Marama Davidson says it's time for a Māori holiday, as the country embraces tikangi Māori.

"We should absolutely be pushing for this extra public holiday that gives us time for leisure, celebration and time with whānau," she says.

"It gives us time to look up at the night sky and teach our kids...how we used this time of year to mark a transition, honouring those that have passed in the previous year and welcoming the Māori New Year."

Off the back of the Covid-19 lockdown and challenges caused by the closed international border, the Greens' tourism spokesperson Gareth Hughes says it could help the industry recover.

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Should Matariki to be made an official public holiday in New Zealand?

"Additional to increasing cultural awareness around our shared history, this offers an extra day for New Zealanders to get out to the regions and support small businesses that have been hurt by the drop off of international visitors," he says.

"New Zealanders work really hard and are at the lower end of the scale internationally when it comes to annual public holidays. 

"Another day off to get out and celebrate with family would be well overdue."

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Making the Maori New Year a holiday would cost millions, opponents say. Source: 1 NEWS

Adding tikangi Māori to the public holidays would be appropriate, Mr Hughes says.

A proposal to add Matariki as a public holiday made it to Parliament in 2009, but didn't get across the line.