Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in the east midwinter and heralds in the start of Te Tau Hou, the Māori New Year!
Iwi across Aotearoa understand and celebrate Matariki in their special ways, for example some iwi acknowledge seven and some nine stars. Every iwi is unique in its rituals, ceremonies and celebrations. The things we do similarly around the time of Matariki is to prepare mara kai, plant trees, share kai, and be together to remember loved ones passed.
In 2022, Matariki became an official public holiday in Aotearoa. Te Sure mō te Hararei Tūmatanui o te Kāhui o Matariki 2022 – Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Act 2022 came into effect in April 2022. It is the first public holiday in Aotearoa to recognise te ao Māori!
Mānawatia a Matariki website was launched to share kōrero about this special time, events happening nationally, stories, news and resources. It’s a great place to get started on how to celebrate Matariki. The theme for 2023 is ‘Matariki Kāinga Hokia – Matariki calls you home. It is encouraged to return to your whānau and their people, wherever and whoever that might be to journey back home and celebrate, feast and be with whānau and friends.
It is also underpinned with an important environmental message – re-connect with your maunga, awa, moana and whenua. It is our responsibility to take care of the places we all call home.
Here in the Waikato most iwi acknowledge seven stars – Matariki, Waitī, Waitā, Waipun-a-rangi, Tupuānuku and Ururangi. Each has their own specific attribute:
Matariki – signifies reflection, hope, our connection to te taiao the environment. It highlights the health and well-being of us all.
Waitī – associated with all freshwater like awa, roto, puna, etc and the kai sources that are sustained by them.
Waitā – associated with te moananui-a-kiwa the ocean and the food sources within it.
Waipuna-ā-rangi – the tear of Rangi – the rain.
Tupuānuku – connects us with mara kai – everything that is grown in the soil to be harvested or gathered.
Ururangi – connects us to the winds.
Come on in and learn more about our special Aotearoa holiday coming up 14th July 2023!