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What is Matariki?

A time of renewal and celebration in Aotearoa, New Zealand, that begins with the rising of the Matariki star cluster signifying Matariki, the Māori New Year.

When is it?

Matariki is a star cluster which appears in the night sky during mid-winter. According to the Maramataka (Māori Lunar Calendar), the reappearance of Matariki brings the old lunar year to a close and marks the beginning of the new year. Hence, Matariki is associated with the Māori New Year.

Matariki Stars

It’s a tradition that festivities are conducted to celebrate Matariki. Following the harvesting of crops when the pātaka (food storehouses) were full, allowing free time for family and leisure. The festivities included the making offerings, lighting of ritual fires and celebrations of various kinds to farewell the dead, honour ancestors, and celebrate life.

Ngā kai a Matariki, nāna i ao ake ki runga.

The foods of Matariki, gathered up by her.

How are you celebrating?

The twinkling of the Matariki stars in the pre-dawn sky signals a special celebration for the old and young. Across Aotearoa, families and communities will come together to remember their ancestors, share food, sing, tell stories and play music! Gathering with your loved ones together during the long, cold nights of Matariki for learning and entertainment is the go!

Whare tapere (House of entertainment), which included tākaro (games) and haka (dance), is an important part of Matariki celebrations.

Ka puta Matariki ka rere Whānui. Ko te tohu tēnā o te tau e!

Matariki reappears, Vega starts its flight. The new year begins!

Over the Matariki long weekend you can offer your blessings by sharing these words, “Mānawatia a Matariki” – honour, acknowledge and welcome in Matariki.

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