Matariki  

This page contains information about Matariki, the Māori new year.

Matariki, the Māori New Year

Matariki is a good time to reflect on your place in the world, to reawaken old skills or try out new ones and to set new goals. Each year there are always a number of fun, educational and cultural events happening throughout the region to celebrate Matariki.

Matariki can be translated in two ways – Mata Riki (tinyeyes) and Mata Ariki (eyes of God).

The Matariki cluster can be seen from all parts of the world, and is also known as Pleiades. Subaru, the Seven Sisters and Messier 45.

The first rising of Matariki occurs just prior to sunrise in late May or during June each year and symbolises the coming of the Māori New Year. Some iwi start celebrations as soon as the constellation is seen. However, it is the first new moon after the stars are first seen that officially signals the Māori New Year. To find out the date of Matariki check out: Te Ara Encyclopedia website

When Matariki appears in the sky, around the shortest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, it is thought to determine how good the harvest will be in the coming season. The brighter the stars, the more productive the crops.

Historically, Matariki was a time to celebrate and to prepare the ground for the coming year. It was also a time to instruct young people in the ways of the land and the forest through stories, games and music to ensure traditions were passed on. Matariki was, and still is, a time to foster unity and the importance of whānau (family). It is still seen as an important time to celebrate the earth, and show respect for the land and water.

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