Matariki, the Southern winter solstice is here again. The day no longer shrinks, it lengthens. Vigor slowly returns to plants, their growing season begins. It is the time for nurturing and cultivation.
In 2004 a group of volunteers, Maori and Pakeha, planted 1500 seedlings during matariki on Ngati Whatua land around Whenua Rangatira or Bastion Point in Auckland. The planting of indigenous plants is an initiative to re-establish the original forest cover on the strategic hill overlooking Auckland Harbour.
Between 1976 – ’78 the land was the scene of a land rights confrontation between the Ngati Whatua people and the Auckland City Council. After 507 days, Police moved in and 222 people occupying the land were arrested. They got off on a technicality. The occupation and use of force to end it played a part in highlighting injustices against Māori, and the occupation was a major landmark in the history of Māori protest. In the 1980s New Zealand Government formally apologised and returned the land to Ngāti Whātua with compensation, as part of the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process. (from Wikipedia – Bastion Point)
The group of seven stars known as either Matariki, the seven sisters or Pilaedes is now showing above the dawn horizon, signaling the winter solstice.
Returning to Bastion Point, I noted the change, the forest well established but the weather pretty much the same, cold, windy and wet.