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Mânawatia a Matariki

The Māori New Year also known as Matariki only became officially celebrated as a holiday in 2022. Makariki is the name of a cluster of stars that appear over mid winter. In the traditional Māori callander (Maramataka), the new year begins on the first moon after Matariki appears in the sky. Although Matariki is only celebrated as an official holiday one day of the year, the holiday lasts weeks taking place from late May to early July. Iwi across Aotearoa undermanastand and celebrate the holiday in various ways but the appearance of Matariki in the ski sparks a united celebration of joy, remembrance and peace.

The 9 Whetū of Matariki

The matariki stars (also known as the Pleiades), although individually named and defined they’re all fundamentally connected to create Matariki.

1- Matariki, also known as the Mother of the eight stars. Matariki is connected to Health and Well-being is commonly viewed as a sign of good fortune / health to come in the upcoming year. It is known that if both the mother star and the cluster were high and bright in the sky it signals wellbeing, peace and good luck to its observers.

2- Pōhutukawa, the second of the cluster, is connected to the dead and those who have passed on in the past year. Māori believe that when a person passes away, their spirit leaves their body and journeys through a pathway of Spirits known as Te Ara Wairua. The path ends at the tip of the north island where a Pōhutukawa tree stands on the edge of a cliff, the spirit descends into the tree's roots to enter the underworld.

3- Tupu-ā-nuku, is the third star and is associated with Kai (food) grown in the ground. The star is looked upon in the month of may to signal the end of the summer harvest and winter is approaching.

4- Tupu-ā-rangi, the fourth star, is associated with the Kai (food) in the sky. Traditionally, Kererū were harvested at this time. Tupuarangi is also connected to the harvesting of elevated foods eg. berries and fruits. During the celebration of Matariki is seen as the time to harvest winter fruits.

5- Waitī is the fifth star connected to fresh water and the living creatures in rivers, lakes and streams. Iwi appreciate and respect the beautiful fresh waters of Aotearoa, not wasting or polluting the fresh water.

6- Waitā, Recognised through the Ocean, the sixth star (twin of Waitī) represents the Kai harvested from the ocean. Waitā is also significant for the impact it has on tides and floodwaters.

7- Waipuna-ā-rangi, The seventh star is connected to the rain, “Waipuna-ā-Rangi” translating to “Water that pools in the sky”. The star is recognised for the significance rain is to life on earth.

8- Ururangi, the eighth star represents the wind. “Ururangi” meaning “the winds of the sky”, this whētu is traditionally used to predict the nature of the year to follow.

9- Hiwi-i-ti-rangi, the last star connected in the promise of a successful season. Hiwi-i-ti-rangi is also referred to as the wishing star with the star being used to set desires and dreams for the year to follow (aka New year Resolutions)




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