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Matariki - 25th June 2019


Matariki is fast approaching, and due to rise and be visible on the morning horizon (NE direction) on 25th June 2019.

Matariki is a cluster of stars highly regarded by various indigenous groups who know it by many names including Pleiades (Greece), Kṛttikā (India), Makali’i (Hawaii) and Subaru (Japan). Matariki has two translations. Mata Riki means 'Tiny Piercing Eyes', and Mata Ariki means 'The Eyes of God'. Both of which support the concept that Matariki is a representation of those we have lost looking after the ones left behind on earth. This is done by indicating the New Year is upon us and what we can expect from the year to come.

Source: Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Mana Magazine - http://www.mana.co.nz/heritage/te-iwa-o-matariki.html

The time of Matariki is signaled by the rising of the cluster above the horizon in the east near the shortest day in winter. Once visible this confirms the middle of winter is upon us and the fruitful warmer seasons are near. It is in this time we congregate with those we hold dear to us, those we rely on and those we wish to build a flourishing relationship with, to celebrate the end of winter rationing of stored food. We come together to dine on the surplus and enjoy each other’s company. We take this time to reflect on the past, lament those that have gone before us, our ancestors that have provided and nurtured us releasing them to the heavens, while preparing the mind and body for the laborious seasons ahead. We take advantage of the time spent together to recite history through storytelling and song to learn from our past. This reflection on our history is used as a foundation to build a more prosperous future and allow us to prepare for the adjustments required of each of us.

Three of the stars in Matariki have a strong connection with water;

Waitī: ties to bodies of fresh water and the food within it.

  • Waitī watches over our freshwater environments. Our awa (rivers), roto (lakes), kūkūwai (wetlands), and waipuna (springs) – to name just a few. As the waters flow, she sees how they support us, provide for us, connect us, and sustain us. Waitī has heard the important stories that our waters have to tell. She encourages us to listen, and to learn from them as well.

Waitā: ties to the ocean and the food within it

  • Waitā surveys our vast oceans, Te Moana-nui-o-Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean) and Te Tai-o-Rehua (the Tasman Sea). The variety of life in these waters is so diverse that he finds he is still discovering different species of marine plants, whāngote (mammals), manu (birds) and ika (fish) – even after all of this time. Biodiversity is essential to our world. Our actions need to support it, and even better still, enhance it. Waitā encourages us to respect our coasts and oceans, and treat their inhabitants like the taonga (treasures) they really are.

Waipuna-a-Rangi: associated with the precipitation / Rain.

  • Waipuna-ā-rangi welcomes the winter sky waters in all their forms – ua (rain) ua nganga (hail) and hukarere (snow) included. She sees how these waters contribute to the healthy cycle of our earth, and also, the effects when they don’t arrive as required. Waipuna-ā-rangi encourages us to reflect about climate change, and what we can do today to lessen the problem.

Source: Adapted from Kiwi Conservation Club – https://kcc.org.nz/te-iwa-o-matariki-the-nine-stars-of-matariki-promotion/

Also if you feel like partaking in Matariki festivities (22nd June to 14th July),

Informative posters and activity books are available via Te Wānanga o Aotearoa – Te Iwa o Matariki website.