History of Matariki
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.
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.
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. If they were hazy and closely bunched together, then a cold year would be in store.
Popular before the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand, Matariki celebrations continued into the 1900s before gradually dwindling with the last traditional festivals recorded in the 1940s.
At the beginning of the 21st century Matariki celebrations were revived and have become a special time of the year to celebrate the unique place we live in, respect the land we live on, and share and grow with each other.
Māori legend and Matariki
According to tradition, Matariki has two meanings – 'Mata riki' - tiny eyes, and it is also sometimes called 'Mata ariki' – the eyes of god.
Māori legend tells of a time when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were forcibly separated by their children.
The god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens, where they have been in existence ever since.
Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades, a star cluster in the constellation Taurus.
Pleiades, the Greek name for the cluster, comes from seven sisters of Greek legend, the daughters of Atlas and Pleone. This is reminiscent of the Māori and Pacific stories that say Matariki is a mother surrounded by her six daughters.
The galactic cluster is internationally recognised as it can be viewed from anywhere in the world, acting as a key navigation beacon for ocean voyagers as well as an important signal for seasonal celebration in many countries.
In Greece, several major temples face straight towards Matariki, as does Stonehenge in England. In Japan, the Subaru brand is named after the Matariki stars.
How to spot Matariki (Pleiades)
Keep an eye out from early-mid June onwards (about 12 June for Auckland skies) as Matariki rises on the northeast horizon, a little to the west (left) of where the sun rises.
The best time to spot Matariki in Auckland is about one hour before dawn, from about 6.30am. Binoculars will help first-time spotters.
He Kōrero Tuku Iho mō Matariki
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.
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. Ki te kōrehurehu me te tautau mai rātou, he tau mātao i te tiaki mai.
He mahi hirahira i mua i te taenga mai o te Pākehā ki Aotearoa, i te mau tonu te whakanui i a Mataraki tae noa ake ki te rautau kua taha atu nei, ka memeha haere, arā, ko te ahurei mutunga e meatia ana nō ngā tau whā tekau o taua rautau.
I te tīmatatanga o tēnei rautau, ka oho ake anō ngā whakanuitanga i a Matariki ka tū mai hei wā motuhake o te tau hei whakanui i te ahurei o te wāhi kua whakakāingatia nei e tātou, te whakaaro nui ki te whenua e nohoa nei e tātou, te oha me te tupu ngātahi, tētahi me tētahi.
Ngā Pakiwaitara a te Māori me Matariki
He ai ki ngā kōrero tuku iho, he rua ngā whakamāramatanga mō Matariki - he 'Mata riki', he karu iti nei - he 'Mata Ariki', he mata atua tonu.
Hei tā ngā pakiwaitara ā te Māori i weheruatia a Rangi rāua ko Papatūānuku e ā rāua tamariki.
Tērā te Atua o ngā hau, a Tāwhirimātea, i te kaha riri ka tīkarohia mai e ia ana karu kātahi ka whiua ki ngā rangi, ka iri iho i reira mai i taua wā.
Ngā Whetū o Matariki
Ko Matariki te ingoa Māori mō Pleiades, he kāhui whetū nō te tātai whetū e meatia nei ko Taurus.
Ko tōna ingoa Kariki i ahu mai i ngā tuahine e whitu o te pakiwaitara mō ngā tamāhine a Atlas rāua ko Pleone. He āhua rite tēnei ki ngā pakiwaitara o te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa e kī nei ko Matariki te whaea kei te tauawhitia e ana tamāhine e ono.
Kei te mōhio whānuitia te kāhui whetū nei, nā te mea ka kitea atu ia mai i hea nei o te ao, te noho mai hei tohu whakatere mō te hunga kaumoana me te pou tohu i ngā mahi whakanui i te wā o te tau i te whenua maha.
I Kirihi, ko ētahi o ngā temepara matua e anga tonu atu ki a Matariki. He pērā anō a Stonehenge i Ingarangi. I Hapanihi, a Subaru me whakaingoa ki te kāhui o Matariki.
Me pehea e kitea ai a Matariki (Pleiades)
Whakamau to mata a te pito otinga o Haratua – me te urunga mai o Pipiri, tērā a Matariki te maiangi ki te pae o te rakimāwhiti, i te ara whitinga tonu mai o te rā. Ko te wā e kitea pai ai a Matariki, he hāwhe haora i mua i te ata hāpara.