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23/6/15 · Posted in Biculturalism, Matariki

Ka puta a Matāriki ka rere a Whānui.

Ko te tohu tēnā o te tau e! 

Matāriki appears, Whānui starts its flight.

 This is the sign of the New Year.

Picture of two Koru

T. Cliffe (2015)

Matāriki is the Māori name for the constellation of stars that is often referred to as Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. However, in other accounts, Matāriki is the mother surrounded by her six daughters, Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi, Waitī, Waitā, Waipuna-ā-rangi and Ururangi. There are two ways Matāriki can be translated – tiny eyes, or, mata Ariki – eyes of God.

Matāriki is a small cluster of stars, rising in the north-eastern skies in late May or early June. The rise of Matāriki heralds the beginning of the Māori New Year signalling a change in season, from warmer to colder months.

Usually by the time Matāriki appeared over Aotearoa, people had already harvested crops and replenished their storehouses for the season ahead. Hākari or feasts were common. Traditionally, at this time, people gathered to celebrate and particpate in wānanga around weaving, singing and performing, and the learning of whakapapa.

Matāriki signals a time to prepare, to share ideas, to remember the past and celebrate the future. Matāriki is a time of change, and also growth. It is a time to acknowledge what we have and what we have to share. Today Matāriki is viewed as an opportunity to celebrate the revitalisation of Te Reo Māori and other traditional Māori knowledge.

In the painting above, the appearance of Matāriki is depicted by the artist. Koru, like Matāriki symbolise new beginnings. The koru on the left represents the new and the koru on right represents the past, both are always interconnected.

Matāriki not only heralds the beginning of a New Year but should serve as time when we all take-stock, review and evaluate the journey we have travelled. Through evaluating our journey, our experiences of the past become the very building blocks of our future.


Karakia kia Matariki

Matariki te TipuaMatariki te Tawhito

Tau Mai Te Wairua


Mai ngā Ira Atua

Ki te Ira Tangata

Tihei Mauriora!!!


Matariki the sacredMatariki the old

Welcome the spirit, Welcome the life


From the essence of Atua

To us the human kind

Let there be life!!!

Kupu mo Matariki

Useful Matariki terms

Kupu Maori



tau hou

tau = year / hou = new

new year

timatanga hou

timatanga = beginning / hou = new

new beginning

whakanui i a Matariki

whakanui = celebrate

to celebrate Matariki

whetu pataata

whetu = star / piataata = shining

shining star

Kānapanapa, tiramarama

twinkling, bright




Mother Earth

hauhake mara

hauhake = harvest / māra = gardens

to harvest gardens













hakari kai

hākari = feast / kai = food

feast, shared lunch / dinner

Thanks for reading.

Jonathan Tautari & Robert Nathan
Pou Arahi