What is Matariki?
Matariki is the Māori name for the star cluster known as the Pleiades. Traditionally for Māori when it appeared just before dawn in late May or early June, it signalled the start of the Māori New Year. For some tribes, the rising of Puanga (Rigel in Orion) signals the start of the New Year. In the early 2000s Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission), the Ministry of Education and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, became involved in the revival of Matariki celebrations.
When is Matariki?
Different tribes celebrated Matariki at different times. For some it was when Matariki rose in May/June. For others it was celebrated at the first new moon, or full moon, following the rising of Matariki. In the 21st century it is the new moon following the rising of Matariki that signals the New Year.
Matariki commenced on 25 June in 2017.
Image sourced from Dayne Laird's twitter feed, a Matariki enthusiast based in Auckland.
For many iwi the appearance of Puanga (Rigel in Orion) in the night sky signalled the start of winter. Puanga was said to be one of the parents of the climbing plant puawānanga.
How to find Matariki (the Pleiades)
You can check out ‘A beginner’s guide to finding Matariki’ on Te Ara's blog.
YouTube also features video clips about Matariki.
The Ministry does not have any printed Matariki resources. However you can download the following Ministry desktop wallpaper from our website.
Another free download includes three Matariki colouring book pages for tamariki to print and colour from Auahi Kore's website.
Each year Te Whakaminenga o Kāpiti produces a maramataka (calendar) that covers the period 1 July to 30 June and includes information for fishing and planting by the moon. The new maramataka will be available for purchase from July at Kāpiti Coast District Council Service Centres for $10 each. More details are here.
Where to find Matariki events
The last traditional Matariki festival was recorded in the 1940s. Matariki was revived in Tauranga in c.1992 at a small school in Welcome Bay called Otepou with an early morning trek up the Kōpukairoa Ranges. Tauranga Libraries joined the Matariki renaissance in 2005, offering workshops to the community. Since then the yearly winter festival has grown in size as the library's Māori Events Team have worked to establish Matariki as a cultural and social event for the Tauranga community.
Matariki extravaganza underway at Te Puia - New Zealand Māori Arts and Craft Institute. Rotorua residents can join in the festivities for free by signing up for the annual Te Puia whānau card - proof of Rotorua residency is all that is required.
Wellington region events - Matariki Rising
Wellington - STROMA ensemble to meet masters of taonga puoro in unique collaboration for Matariki - 28 June
Trees That Count Celebrates Matariki with Native Tree Giveaway
As Matariki draws near, Trees That Count is joining the Māori New Year celebrations by offering community groups, schools and non-profit organisations the opportunity to win native trees for local conservation projects. Trees That Count will be gifting 300 native trees to seven groups nationwide, representative of each of the seven stars of Matariki, to help regenerate their local environment. Entries close on 30 June - more details are here.
Updated on 26th June 2017