‘Matariki baby’ Stacey Morrison heads home for special broadcast

Mānawatia a Matariki, happy birthday - and good luck with getting the kids sorted.

Broadcaster Stacey Morrison faces a hectic week, with the “Matariki baby” juggling whānau, her June 25 birthday, and co-hosting the national Māori New Year coverage from her own haukāinga (home territory).

Morrison spoke to Stuff ahead of the official Mānawatia a Matariki 2024 broadcast from Treble Cone in Wānaka, a significant event for home iwi Ngāi Tahu.

While she thought Matariki was becoming a part of Kiwis’ everyday lives, it was a particularly busy time for her, husband Scotty Morrison, and their three children.

Read this story in te reo Māori and English here. / Pānuitia tēnei i te reo Māori me te reo Pākehā ki konei.

“It’s been a part of our three kids’ upbringing, but it’s a busy time for our whānau. We do one hautapu together, this year my daughter is in a kapa haka competition, and it’s my birthday, I’m a Matariki baby.”

People had spent the first two Matariki holidays getting used to the event, she said, but this year had the opportunity to be “amazing”.

The programme begins with a live broadcast of the hautapu ceremony at dawn, and will feature reports from across the regions, as well as a live musical performance from the Modern Māori Quartet.

Morrison and Mātai Smith will co-host the broadcast. Morrison’s whakapapa to Ngāi Tahu, known in the language of the region as Kai Tahu, made the event personally significant too.

Kai Tahu co-ordinator Paulette Tamati-Elliffe said the iwi had the opportunity this year to realise the wildest dreams of its tūpuna or ancestors.

“It’s a bit daunting, but we’re excited and we’ve been preparing for the last few months. For us, it’s a huge responsibility to carry this kaupapa and we want to make sure that we afford it as much honour, prestige and mana as we can.”

Hosting the event had reinvigorated the iwi’s research, restoring its own “mātauraka Kai Tahu” (iwi knowledge), she said.

“So, through this process of being asked to host this year’s hautapu, we’ve undertaken a lot of research around some of our own traditions.

“We’ve looked closely at tribal manuscripts to look at what our ancestors left for us, and we’re sort of piecing together our understanding of this time of year.”

The iwi would proudly carry its ancestors forward, Tamati-Elliffe said, and know that those ancestors would be proud to see that their descendants were reclaiming their language, practices and traditions - and sharing them with the nation.

“Those aspirations and dreams of our ancestors are being embodied in this generation.”

Stuff will livestream the broadcast from 6am on June 28. It will also be available on TVNZ 1, TVNZ+, Three, Sky Open, Whakaata Māori, Radio New Zealand and iwi radio.

- Stuff