Mānawatia a Matariki
Māori believe that appearance of Matariki in the morning sky in mid-winter marks the Māori New Year, or Te Mātahi o te Tau. It signals a time to remember those who have passed, celebrate the present and plan for the future. It’s a time to spend with whānau and friends – to enjoy kai (food), waiata (song), tākaro (games) and haka.
Our tūpuna (ancestors) would look to Matariki for help with their harvesting. When Matariki disappeared in April/May, it was time to preserve crops for the winter season. When it re-appeared in June/July, tūpuna would read the stars to predict the upcoming season. Clear and bright stars promised a warm and abundant winter while hazy stars warned of a bleak winter.
Because Māori follow the Māori lunar calendar, not the European calendar, the dates for Matariki change every year. In 2023, we celebrate Matariki from 11 July to 17 July, with a national public holiday on 14 July.