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Ngā whetū o Matariki

The stars of Matariki

How many stars does Matariki have?

Matariki has nine visible stars, according to leading Māori astronomer, Dr Rangi Matamua, who’s been researching Matariki for over 30 years. As part of his research, Dr Matamua found that some of his own tūpuna were able to see nine stars.

The nine visible stars include: Matariki, Tupuārangi, Waipuna-ā-Rangi, Waitī, Tupuānuku, Ururangi, Waitā, Pōhutukawa and Hiwa-i-te-Rangi.

Each star holds a certain significance over our wellbeing and environment, as seen from the Māori view of the world.

 

The star Matariki

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. 

The word Matariki is the name of both the star cluster and one of the stars within it: other terms for the cluster as a whole include Te Tautari-nui-o-Matariki (Matariki fixed in the heavens) and Te Huihui o Matariki (the assembly of Matariki).

Play Video about The star Matariki

Matariki tāpuapua – this whakataukī (proverb) is in relation to the pools, or puddles due to the rainy weather during the Matariki period. 

Matariki nāna i ao ake te kai ki runga – this means ‘the food scooped up by Matariki’; it acknowledges the connection to kai.

Matariki hunga nui – Matariki of the many. A whakataukī that acknowledges the many followers of Matariki.

Matariki ahunga nui – Matariki provider of food. Ahunga is in relation to mounds in the garden in the months to proceed, and mounds of food.

Te ope o te rua Matariki – this whakataukī has a dual meaning: one is in acknowledgement of those who have passed; the other is a salutation to an esteemed group of people within the living.

Ka rewa a Matariki, ka maoka te hinu – when Matariki rises, the fat is hot. Kereru are abundant at this time,

Ka rewa a Matariki ka rere te kanakana – when Matariki rises, the lamprey run. Kanakana or piharau (lamprey) are prolific during this time.

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.

The star Pōhutukawa

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.

Play Video about The star Pōhutukawa

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. In particular those whom have passed on from this world since the last heliacal rising of Matariki in the month of Piripi.

When an individual dies, their spirit leaves their body and undertakes a journey along Te Ara Wairua, the pathway of the spirits. This journey ends at the northernmost point of the North Island at a place called Te Rerenga Wairua, the departing place of the spirits. The dead travel along the rocky ledge towards the ocean where an ancient pōhutukawa tree stands. They then descend down the aka (root) of this tree and disappear into the underworld.

Pōhutukawa is the star that connects Matariki to the deceased and is the reason people would cry out the names of the dead and weep when Matariki was seen rising in the early morning.

It is through Pōhutukawa that Māori remember those who have died in the past year, and this provides an opportunity for all of us to sit in rememberance of those whom have passed away within our own lives and the lives of those around us, and a time for mindfulness and appreciation.

The star Tupuārangi

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.

The star Tupuārangi

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.
During the rising of Matariki, kererū were harvested in large numbers, cooked and then preserved in their own fat.

Tupuārangi is the star that connects the cluster to the harvesting of birds and other elevated food products like fruit and berries from the trees.

The star Tupuānuku

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.

The star Tupuānuku

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.

“Tupu” or “Tipu” means ‘to grow’ and “nuku” is the shortened version of “Papatūānuku” and means ‘earth’. Hence, Tupuānuku means to grow in the earth. As the seasonal cycles move throughout the maramataka from Winter (Takurua), flourishing through Spring (Kōanga) and into the abundant growth of Summer (Raumati). It eventually begins to cool during Autumn (Ngahuru) and as we move into Winter once again Matariki sets in the western sky at dusk during the month of May. This period indicates the final harvesting of the gardens as the earth begins to shutdown and whānau hunker down for the Winter.

This is exemplified in the whakatauki:
‘Hauhake tū, ka tō Matariki’; ‘Lifting of the crops begins when Matariki sets’.
This visual indication of Matariki setting in the western sky, combined with observing that we are in the marama (month) cycle of the star Haratua (around May) let’s people know Matariki is near.

The star Waitī

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.

The star Waitī

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.

Wai means water in Te Reo, and Waitī is the star that is connected to fresh water and all the creatures that live within awa (rivers), waipuna (streams), pūkaki (streams), kūkūwai (wetlands) and roto (lakes). As the waters flow, she sees how they support us, provide for us, connect us, and sustain us.

Waitī and Waitā are Matariki’s twins. Papatūānuku knew that they would be able to care for the smallest and fastest of creatures – because they too know about being a team.

When we see these two stars in the sky, we are encouraged to join in and support each other.

Waitī (aka Maia) is the fourth-brightest star in the Matariki star cluster, after Matariki, Tupuārangi and Waipunarangi.
Waitī also means to be sweet or melodious. “He reo waitī” is applied when admiring a person with a melodious voice.

The star Waitā

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.

The star Waitā

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.

In te reo Māori ‘wai’ means water. In this instance ‘tā’ refers to salt, similar to the word ‘tōtā’ meaning sweat; hence Waitā refering to bodies of salt water. It is said that ‘Waitā’ is strong and bright during the rise of Matariki that fishing will be good during the year ahead. Conversely if it is weak and obscured that fishing may not be as plentiful. 

Waitī and Waitā are Matariki’s twins. Papatūānuku knew that they would be able to care for the smallest and fastest of creatures – because they too know about being a team. 

When we see these two stars in the sky, we are encouraged to join in and support each other.

Waitā is also known in te ao as ’19 Tauri’ and ‘Taygeta’.

The star Waipuna-a-Rangi

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.

The star Waipuna-ā-Rangi

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. 

There are two stars within the Matariki cluster which link Matariki to the weather – Waipuna-ā-Rangi and Ururangi. The appearance of these stars in the morning of Pipiri would forecast the weather for the new year ahead. Waipuna-ā-Rangi is connected to rain, and translates as ‘water that pools in the sky’.

Māori have names for a massive variety of rain and weather characteristics. For example, the pooling of water on the grond caused by heavy and persistent showers of the Winter months are often referred to as ‘Matariki tāpuapua’.

The star Ururangi

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.

The star Ururangi

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.

There are two stars within the Matariki cluster which link Matariki to the weather – Waipunarangi and Ururangi. The appearance of these stars in the morning of Pipiri would forecast the weather for the new year.

Ururangi means ‘the winds of the sky’. Ururangi is the star which determines the nature of the winds for the year. Māori have always maintained a keen interest in the wind as we travelled here by harnessing it’s power and have names for all of the various times of winds which can occur.

The star Hiwa-i-te-Rangi

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.

The star Hiwa-i-te-Rangi

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.

Hiwa-i-te-rangi is connected to the promise of a prosperous season. “Hiwa” means “vigorous of growth”. It is to Hiwa that Māori would send their dreams and desires for the year in the hope that they would be realised. Similar to the notion of wishing upon a star, or making a new year resolution.

It was believed that if Hiwa-te-rangi were seen bright in the sky during Matariki then hopes and aspriations for the year might come true. The is exemplified in the following karakia:

Ko Hiwa
Ko Hiwa nui
Ko Hiwa roa
Ko Hiwa pūkenga
Ko Hiwa wānanga
Takataka te k`āhui o te rangi
Koia a pou tō putanga ki te whai ao
ki te ao mārama.

In Greek mythology Hiwa is known as Calaeno, and although not as bright as the other stars, it actually has about 9-10 solar masses and a radius 4.4 times that of the Sun.