Let’s take a dive into the magical celebrations taking place all around Auckland for Matariki! Whether you have no idea what the significance of this day is or celebrate it each year, there is truly something for everyone to do, hear, eat or see…
Mānawa maiea te putanga o Matariki
Mānawa maiea te ariki o te rangi
Mānawa maiea te mātahi o te tau
Hail the rise of Matariki
Hail the lord of the sky
Hail the New Year
Matariki is the star cluster most commonly known across the world as Pleaides. The cluster is a small part of a much larger constellation of stars called Taurus. These are some of the earliest recorded groups of stars since around 17,000 years ago. A lot of cultures celebrate these stars because they represent planting, harvesting, weather and life. For Māori, they signal the Māori New Year and the appearance of Matariki in the morning sky lets people gather together to celebrate their present, plan ahead for the future and honour those who have passed. Last year Matariki became an official public holiday in Aotearoa.
The history of Matariki
In the past Matariki was a time to acknowledge the dead and release their spirits to become stars. It was a time to be thankful for crops, ngā Atuaand their harvests. A time for all to then bestow these blessings and bounty by sharing them with family members and friends. It represents the beauty of a new year, marks the passage of time and heralds new beginnings.
Each star of Matariki corresponds with a natural domain. Matariki is the star that signifies reflection, hope, our connection to the environment, and the gathering of people. Matariki is also connected to the health and wellbeing of people.
- Waitī is associated with all fresh water bodies and the food sources that are sustained by those waters.
- Waitā is associated with the ocean, and food sources within it.
- Waipuna-ā-rangi is associated with the rain.
- Tupuānuku is the star associated with everything that grows within the soil to be harvested or gathered for food.
- Tupuārangi is associated with everything that grows up in the trees: fruits, berries, and birds.
- Ururangi is the star associated with the winds.
- Pōhutukawa is the star associated with those that have passed on.
- Hiwa-i-te-rangi is the star associated with granting our wishes, and realising our aspirations for the coming year.
Things you may not know
- This is one of the closest star clusters to earth. A lot of people think Matariki is a constellation, but it is in fact a group of stars close to each other, in this case around 500 stars.
- Despite being close, if you were to try to drive a car to Matariki at a speed of 100km an hour, you would take 4.8 billion years to arrive!
- Matariki is not just special in Māori culture but also is celebrated all over the world. In English speaking countries it is called Pleiades, in Japan it is known as Subaru, Mao in China and Krittika in India.
What’s Going On around Auckland?
- Throughout the week, with a simple Google search (bless the internet) you can find many organisations and places hosting for Matariki; go check out some singing and performances at the Town Hall, Vector Lights at the Auckland Harbour Bridge or Matariki celebrations at Auckland Zoo!!
- This year Westfield centres also have a range of immersive cultural experiences and activities for you. From a massive telescope to study constellations, to activities for young children like the immersive forest or cultural markets, there truly is something for every member of the family at the malls to explore and see.
- Alternatively a classic we hope you did is wake up bright and early, take a good ol’ hike and sit and watch the constellation itself rise. This is a time to sing songs, play music, come together with some kai and reconnect with your home.
- Some wholesome activities people do is; start to plant a new garden, write down goals and wishes for the upcoming year or cook for their loved ones.
These traditions to honour the star cluster for serving us have recently been elevated in Aotearoa, so we hope you celebrated Matariki your way or learnt a little bit more about it’s magic through this article.