We celebrate Matariki because many iwi across Aotearoa use the stars of Matariki to tell when we have made it through a whole year and we will cycle through the seasons again.
The celebration of Matariki begins for many iwi after the first sighting of Matariki before sunrise during the Tangaroa phase (last quarter of moon cycle) of Pipiri (around June) and lasts up until Mutuwhenua, the final moon phase before Whiro (new moon), about one week long.
Matariki is not just a celebration, but a time to reflect, review, and mourn your losses for the year gone.
Matariki tāpuapua. Matariki nāna i ao ake te kai ki runga. Matariki hunga nui. Matariki ahunga nui. Te ope o te rua Matariki. Ka rewa a Matariki, ka maoka te hinu. Ka rewa a Matariki ka rere te kanakana.
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.
Tērā a Pōhutukawa ka mōiri ki runga he pae whakamahara mō aku tau kahurangi kua ngaro.
Pīratarata mai rā koutou hei whetū i te pō, kōrekoreko mai rā hoki koutou i te rokiroki o ngā mahara mō ake tonu atu e.
Pōhutukawa is the star connected to those that have passed on.
Waitī ki runga. Waitī ki raro, e rere nei ō wai hei manapou mō te whenua, hei oranga mō te tangata, hei kete kai mā te iwi. Kōriporipo tonu nei te ia o te awa, māreparepa ana ngā roto, kōrengarenga te puna a Tāne-te-waiora, he koira!
Waitī is connected with all fresh water bodies and the food sources that are sustained by those waters.
Tērā te marae nui a Kiwa te kānapanapa nei i raro i a koe Waitā. Hīia mai rā ki runga te tini a Ikatere, rukuhia ki tai, kohia ki tātahi hei kai mā te tini o uta. Ka hiki mata te tapuwae a Tangaroa! Koia au nui, koia au roa, koia moana tuarangaranga koia moana i āio.
Waitā is associated with the ocean, and food sources within it.
Haramai te kōnehunehu! Haramai te hāuaua, Haramai te tarahi! Haramai te patapataiāwha!
Takataka mai i te kōmanawa o te hei tapu, whāinumia e koe e Waipuna-ā-Rangi ka tupu te whenua, ka tupu te tangata.
Waipuna-ā-Rangi is connected with the rain.
Tupuānuku ka pihi nuku, ka pihi rangi, ka makuru haere ake nei. Kia haumako roa hoki te puke ki a Rongo, i āhua mai i tawhiti. Ngā hua o Nukutū ka aohia nuitia, arā rā ngakingaki, ara rā tinaku. Hauhaketia rā te tau, he tau humi e.
Tupuānuku is the star connected with everything that grows within the soil to be harvested or gathered for food.
Ngaruru te waokū, matomato te waokū, māpuapua te puhikaioreore e tau ai ngā tamariki a Tāne, tērā koia te pua nui. Tupuārangi māu e mōmona ngā manu, ka mōmona ngā hua, ka puta ka ora!
Tupuārangi is connected with everything that grows up in the trees: fruits, berries and birds.
E Ururangi whakamāriretia te atua matakerepō koi pūkerikeri mai koi haurokuroku mai, koi huripari mai. Engari kē kia hau kōanga, kia kōtengitengi kia purea ai au, kia whakahauoratia ai au.
Ururangi is the star connected with the winds.
Hiwa nui, Hiwa roa, Hiwa pūkenga, Hiwa wānanga! Hiwaiterangi tēnei e korou o te manawa koronga, tēnei te āwhero o te manako nui. Horahia nuitia mai ngā hua tuawhiti mātinitini o te tau. Purutia e au kia mau te angitū, tāwhia te mooho kia ita! Ka puta ki te whai ao, ki te ao mārama.
Hiwaiterangi is the star connected with granting our wishes, and realising our aspirations for the coming year.
Information Credit: Matariki – The Star of the Year by Dr. Rangi Matamua
You can see the Matariki through most of the year beginning in Pipiri (~June) just before sunrise, then around midnight in Whiringa-ā-rangi (~November), and finally just after sunset in Paenga-whāwhā (~April). It is only in the Maramataka of Haratua (~May) that we cannot see Matariki.
You can point to Matariki through the 3 stars Tau Toru (Orion’s belt) that are all about the same brightness and almost in a straight line. If you go through the 3 stars of Tau Toru in the wrong direction, you’ll get to Hinetakurua (Sirius), the brightest star in the night sky. Matariki are also on the opposite side of the sky from Te Matau-a-Māui (Maui’s Fishhook / Scorpius), so if those stars are high in the sky, Matariki will be below the horizon.
Maramataka is the Māori calendar that is based on the phases of Marama (the Moon). We see Marama go through different phases over a period of about 29.5 days, wich doesn’t fit evenly into the 365.25 days it takes Papa-tū-ā-nuku (the Earth) to orbit Tama-nui-te-rā (the Sun). The first day of the Māori New Year is therefore on a different day each year as we wait to reset the Maramataka with our position around Tama-nui-te-rā as well as with the new moon phase of Whiro, the first day of the lunar month for many iwi.