Friends of the Farm – a community group
Celebrating Matariki – the Moonlight Lantern Walk
Families gathered at Ambury Farm Park on Saturday 15 July to make lanterns and enjoy a moonlit walk to the Mānukau foreshore in the dark. The lantern is a symbol of lightening and brightening the path for the Māori new year. This gathering was a great opportunity to celebrate Matariki, which is a time to remember our ancestors, celebrate the present with family and friends, and look to the start of a new year.
The Ambury Farm barn was set up in work areas with hammers and nails so that children could punch holes in the tin cans (which were filled with water and frozen beforehand) to make their lanterns. After a handle was added a tea light candle was placed in the base.
The weather was fine and crisp and the clouds blew away to allow good sightings of the stars, helped immensely by two telescopes and powerful binoculars set up in a darker area of the park by Olga and friends, our local astronomy enthusiasts.
Longtime farm Ranger Janine Nillesen led the community on a night time walk around the farm and foreshore with a team of trusty volunteers who frantically relit several candles trying to keep the lanterns shining bright. Families enjoyed the 40 minute meander in calm coastal conditions, passing by farm animals with some children able to get close enough to pat the cows who did not seem phased by approximately 160 people walking through their paddocks at night. Other features were Colin & Conner, Ambury’s resident Clydesdale horses and chickens high up in trees for their nightly slumber.
Friends of the Farm Māngere Bridge volunteers provided a sausage sizzle before the lantern walk, with hot chocolate and homemade sweet bites afterwards. Yum!
“I hope this will become an annual event” commented local lad Gabb. “It’s great to gather as a community and celebrate Matariki. I can now take a break from baked beans & ‘sketti!”