Saturday, June 27, 2015

Matariki Meets Winter Solstice – Juliet Batten on a New Year for Aotearoa

The June celebrations of Matariki and Winter Solstice share a surprising closeness of meaning, says Herne Bay author Juliet Batten, (right), with both winter festivals marking the turning of a new year.

“When the Maori and European cultural traditions meet in such striking ways, we have a compelling case for a new year – even a new calendar – for Aotearoa,” Juliet says.

She will speak about how we can connect more closely to both our inherited traditions and local seasonal changes at a free public event that the Grey Lynn Library has organised for Tuesday 30 June, during the Matariki period, at 1.30pm.

Her book Celebrating the Southern Seasons: Rituals for Aotearoa, which has shed new light on these seasonal festivities, offers ways to embrace the cross-cultural heritage of many New Zealanders.

Celebrating the Southern Seasons helped draw wider attention to Matariki on its first publication in 1995 – and its reception and ongoing resonance ensured a  tenth-anniversary new edition in 2005. The book is currently undergoing its fifth reprint.

Victoria University Professor of Religious Studies Paul Morris has said, “Juliet Batten’s well-researched book . . . reiterates her passionate appeal that we relocate ourselves spiritually in the South Pacific.”

An artist and psychotherapist, Juliet has written eight books on seasonal inspiration, transformation, renewal and discovering the sacred. Her latest book, Spirited Ageing, was published in 2013 and her website, where she has a blog and other information, is

The “Matariki Meets Winter Solstice” talk is part of a Matariki Programme of events run by the 55-strong Auckland Libraries,

The Grey Lynn Library is at 474 Great North Road (next to St Joseph’s Catholic Church), with parking available on site. 

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