What is Matariki?
Matariki is the Maori name for the group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster or The Seven Sisters;and what is referred to as the traditional Maori New Year.
When is the Maori New Year?
The Maori new year is marked by the rise of Matariki and the sighting of the next new moon. The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May every year and the new year is marked at the sighting of the next new moon which occurs during June. This next occurs on 5 June 2008.
What does Matariki mean?
Matariki has two meanings, both referring to a tiny constellation of stars; Mata Riki (Tiny Eyes) and Mata Ariki (Eyes of God).
Why is Matariki important?
Traditionally, depending on the visibility of Matariki, the coming season's crop was thought to be determined. The brighter the stars indicated the warmer the season would be and thus a more productive crop. It was also seen as an important time for family to gather and reflect on the past and the future.
Why do we celebrate Matariki today?
Today Matariki means celebrating the unique place in which we live and giving respect to the land we live on.
How is Matariki celebrated?
Matariki is celebrated with education, remembrance and the planting of new trees and crops signalling new beginnings. Matariki was the optimum time for new harvests, and ceremonial offerings to the land-based gods Rongo, Uenuku and Whiro to ensure good crops for the coming year. It was also seen as a perfect time to learn about the land we live on and to remember whakapapa (ancestry) who have passed from this world to the next and the legacy they left behind.
The University of Waikato will celebrate Matariki this year, click here to view Matariki events and the promotional poster for 2008.