The rising of the star constellation known as Matariki is an important time in the Māori calendar. It heralds in the Māori New Year, which is a time to connect with, and give thanks to the land, sea and sky. Ko te kāhui whetū e mōhiotia nei ko Matariki he wā nui tonu i roto i te maramataka Māori, ko te karere ia o te tau hou Māori. Ko te wā hei tāpae atu, hei tuku mihi ki te whenua, te moana me te rangi. He wā anō hoki e tūhono ai te hapori ki te poroaki i te tau kua hipa, ki te whakanui me te whakatika atu mō te tau e tū mai nei. Me āhei i konei te kai tahi, te karakia, te ngahau tahi, te manaaki tangata me te oha mātauranga.
It is also a time for the community to come together and acknowledge the year gone by, as well as, to celebrate and prepare for the year ahead. This involves the sharing of kai (food), rituals, entertainment, hospitality and knowledge. Mai rā anō he kaitaki ara whakatere te kāhui whetū nei mō te Māori, me te tohu hoki i te āhua o ngā wā o te tau kei te oho mai. Ki te mahea te kitea atu he tohu tērā te mahana me te whaihua o te tau kei te heke mai.
Historically, the star cluster was a navigational aid for Māori and an indicator of the coming seasons. If the stars were clear, it was a sign that the year ahead would be warm and productive.