Guest blogger: Haihong Liu (Aroha Quartet) on Matariki

CMNZ-42Haihong Liu. Chinese-born NZSO first violinist Haihong is a graduate of the prestigious Beijing Central Conservatory of Music in the People’s Republic of China. Haihong emmigrated to New Zealand with her family in 2001, initially joining the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra as sub-principal first violin, and moving to the NZSO in 2002. With the Aroha String Quartet Haihong enjoys a varied and energetic musical life, touring nationwide. 


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The Matariki 2016 concert Te Reo o te Marama The voice of the moon organized by CMNZ and Wellington Museum was a moment of universal celebration, a time for culture and heritage to come together.

As a part of the invited cast, we – The Aroha Quartet – had a great experience!

For me it was also the very first time. I was deeply fascinated, touched, and inspired! Still thrilled thinking about it…

Warren and Alistair performing the Taonga Puoro

The powerful “Rona and the Moon” story narrated and written by Patricia Grace, for me, has truly been the highlight of this magical evening. From “The broken calabashes…”…Rona’s full blame on the moon“…”cloud and wind are children of Tawhiri Matea“… To “A journey skyward… Saw Rona seated at Moon’s window, and dancing…“. All these words leave the printed pages and through Patricia’s narration come alive in the audience imagination.

The narration was accompanied by our own Kiwi composers’ vivid quartet music in conjunction with the evocative Taonga Puoro performed by Warren and Alistair, and the uplifting performance given by Te Rau Taiohi Kapa haka group. Well done for the mighty collaboration!

Te Rau Taiohi Kapa haka group

Last but not least, I would like to share with you all, another legendary Moon story, from the other side of the globe, my own country – China.

The story of Chang’e & Hou Yi

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Long long ago, there were 10 suns in the sky. They burnt all the plants on the earth. People were dying.

One day, a hero whose name was Hou Yi used his bow and arrows to shoot down nine of them. All the people on the earth were saved.

One day, the queen of heaven gave Hou Yi a bottle elixir that could make Hou Yi become an immortal, but the elixir was only efficacious for one person. Hou Yi did want to become an immortal, but he wanted to stay with his beautiful wife Chang’e more, so he didn’t drink the elixir and asked his wife Chang’e to keep it for him.

Hou Yi was becoming more and more famous after he shot down the nine suns and more and more men wanted Hou Yi to be their master. Most of them were accepted by Hou Yi.

Not every student of Hou Yi had good morality. Feng Meng, one of his students, wanted to seize his elixir. One day, Hou Yi went hunting with his students, but Feng Meng pretended to be ill and stay at home. When making sure Hou Yi had gone he went to Hou Yi’s house and tried to force Chang’e to give him the elixir. Chang’e knew she couldn’t defeat Feng Meng so she drank the elixir immediately. The elixir made her become an immortal and fly higher and higher. Finally, she stopped on the moon.

From then on, people often pray to Chang’e for fortune and safety. During the Mid-Autumn Festival they offer lots of foods to Chang’e.

(photo credit: Vanessa Rushton Photography).

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