Manawatia a Matariki
The rising of Matariki (a cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades) marks the beginning of the Māori New Year. It is a time to reflect, to connect with whānau (family), with our taiao (environment), and to celebrate what has passed and what is to come.
Matariki is made up of nine whētu (stars), each with its own purpose.
- Matariki - The mother of the eight other stars, linked to health and wellbeing.
- Pōhutukawa - Connected to dead and those who have passed in the last year.
- Tupuānuku - Associated with food grown in the earth.
- Tupuārangi - Associated with food that comes from the sky, linked to birds.
- Waitī - Connected to fresh water and creatures in rivers, streams, and lakes.
- Waitā - Associated with the ocean and food gathered from the sea.
- Waipuna-ā-rangi - Connected to the rain.
- Ururangi - Connected to the wind.
- Hiwa-i-te-rangi - Connected to the promise of a prosperous season.
Did you know...
The Matariki cluster of stars isn't visible to everyone in Aotearoa. For some iwi, in Taranaki, Whanganui, parts of the Far North, and the West Coast of the South Island, the new year begins with the rising of Puanga. Puanga is the star Rigel and is the brightest star in the Orion constellation, Matariki is seen below Puanga and to the left of Tautoru (the three stars of Orion’s Belt).
How do I find Matariki?
Matariki is best found between 5:30am and 6:30am.
Look to the left of Tautoru (Orion's Belt OR 'the pot'), find the bright orange star, Taumata-kuku (Alderbaran). Follow an imaginary line from Tautoru, across to Taumata-kuku and keep going until you hit a cluster of stars. That cluster is Matariki.
How to commemorate Matariki
Matariki is the perfect opportunity to get into nature and appreciate the environment with your friends and whānau. Below are some ideas for you to celebrate Matariki through recreation...
An important component of Matariki is kai (food) and preparing the garden for Spring. Share recent harvests with your friends and whānau, and start planning/preparing your garden for the next harvest. Traditionally, the appearance of the stars predict the conditions of the coming year. If the stars are clear and bright, it signals a favourable season for planting.
A great way to connect with Matariki and with your friends and whānau is to play. Matariki is about having fun and spending time with your loved ones. There are a number of traditional Māori games that you can learn like Kī-o-Rahi or Poi Rākau. There are also plenty of Māori based board games that you can get your hands on, if you want a more relaxed approach to play.
Explore your Environment
Don a pair of hiking boots and head out to your local bushwalk, see how many native plants or birds you can spot along the way. Or check out your town/city events calendar, there will be all kinds of festival activities and celebrations that you can take part in and be inspired by. Matariki is a great excuse to convene with your community to enjoy your surroundings.