05 July 2023

What is Matariki?

“Matariki rere ki pae mahara”
“Matariki a time to remember and reflect”

Matariki is commonly known as the Maaori New Year and is marked by the rising of the cluster of stars named Pleiades or Matariki according to Maaori.

There are many significant Matariki stories, locally she is known as the daughter of Papatuuaanuku (earth mother) and Ranginui (sky father). According to Maaori mythology, after the children separated their parents Papatuuaanuku and Ranginui. Tāwhirimaatea (God of the winds) became so angry he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens. This was the creation of Matariki.

Matariki was celebrated at the end of the summer harvest season, in the last days of May to early June, when Matariki appears in the tail of the Milky Way. The storehouses were filled with food, and the land was made ready for the next seasons planting. This was a time to foster unity and the meaning of whaanau (family). Whaanau took the opportunity to reflect on the past year and plan for the future: through whakapapa, songs, games, carving, weaving and historical stories.

The Themes of Matariki

Remembering those that have passed during the year

Celebrating the present
Gathering to celebrate the present with feasting, games and joyful activities

Looking to the future
Planning for the year ahead

Celebrate Matariki at Home

Te Papa Tongarewa have created a range of activities and resources to to help you celebrate this Matariki period. Do these activities with your friends and whaanau, in your class/akomanga and share some of your Matariki learnings.

Celebrate at Home

Songs that celebrate Matariki

Matariki Activity Book