Matariki 2021

Matariki 2021

15 June 2021

Matariki symbolizes the Māori new year under the Māramataka - Lunar Calendar. The word Matariki comes from Ngā Mata o te Ariki, Tāwhirimātea (The eyes of the chief, Tāwhirimātea).

Tāwhirimātea (the atua of the wind) was so upset that his parents (Ranginui and Papatuānuku) were separated by Tāne Mahuta (Atua of the forest) that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the sky, creating Matariki.

Matariki was also used by early Polynesian navigators to make their way across Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa (Pacific Ocean).

This is the Matariki cluster from a Te Ao Māori perspective:

  • Waipuna-ā-rangi - Watches the skies, rains, snows, sleets which nourishes the earth and contributes to the water cycles.
  • Ururangi - Is the winds of North, East, South and West.
  • Tupu-ā-rangi - Represents cultivation from above: forests, birds, trees.
  • Tupu-ā-nuku - Represents cultivation from the earth: kawakawa, kumara, healthy soil etc.
  • Waitī - Watches over the fresh water environments and everything living in it: creeks, rivers, lakes, springs which then flow into Waitā.
  • Waitā - Represents the salt waters: seas, oceans and everything living in it.
  • Hiwai-i-te-rangi - Is known as the wishing star: where you cast all your dreams and hopes for the new year.
  • Pohutakawa - Is the star of remembering our passed ancestors: our family and friends who have died.
  • Matariki - Is the mother of the cluster and encourages the gathering of all people.

The stars are strategically placed; Waitī (freshwater) flows down from the mountains into Waitā (saltwater) which is why the freshwater star is above the saltwater. Waipuna-a-rangi (rain) falls from the sky but can be manipulated by Ururangi (winds). Same can be said about Tupu-ā-rangi being above Tupu-ā-nuku.

How to celebrate Matariki?
Gather your friends and whānau. Eat together. Remember those you have lost that passed year. Talk about your dreams and aspirations for the future. Get your land ready for the coming year. Go and see the cluster - best seen at sunrise.