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.
In 2015, Matariki, the Māori New Year, will start on 18 June and the Wellington Matariki Festival runs from 13 June to 12 July.
Puanga/Puaka about 6:35am, Monday 09 June 2014. Image is courtesy of Dayne Laird.
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 either check out, ‘A beginner’s guide to finding Matariki’ on Te Ara's blog, or ‘Help finding Matariki’ on the Matariki events site.
2014 images of Matariki in Auckland taken by Dayne Laird can be viewed on his facebook photo album.
YouTube also features video clips about Matariki.
The Ministry does not have any printed Matariki resources. However you can download three Matariki colouring book pages for tamariki to print and colour from Auahi Kore's website.
Where to find Matariki events
Eventfinda, an events calendar website lists activities taking place around New Zealand.
Matariki Events, a national events calendar, is a New Zealand Māori Tourism project.