Mānawatia a Matariki
22 June 2022 | Read time: 5 minutes
This weekend we join the nation in celebration of Aotearoa / New Zealand’s first Matariki holiday.
One of the team who advised government on when the holiday should fall for the next 30 years was our own Senior Leadership Team member, astrophysicist, Māori astronomy expert and mum, Dr Pauline Harris.
She says New Zealanders are wanting to learn more about the meaning of Matariki and are taking the time to understand it.
“There’s a real excitement and buzz in communities about Matariki, and what we will all do to mark it,” Pauline says.
“Most cultures around the world used the sun, moon and stars for guidance and knowledge, so this idea is something all of our ancestors share.”
“Most cultures around the world used the sun, moon and stars for guidance and knowledge, so this
idea is something all of our ancestors share.”
In Te Ao Māori, Matariki marks the annual return of the constellation of stars also sometimes called the Pleiades, the seven sisters, or Subaru in Japan.
Although traditions for Matariki vary among iwi, the celebration centres on remembrance – honouring those we have lost since the last rising of Matariki; celebrating the present – gathering together to give thanks for what we have; and looking to the future – looking forward to the promise of a new year.
Pauline says how that’s celebrated is for each whanau to decide.
“I encourage everyone to return home and/or gather with friends and family. Take the time to reflect on the year that’s been, honour those who we have lost and remember them, and think about your hopes and dreams for the future. People can follow the values and principles of Matariki to help guide them on what to do.”
These values are:
Aroha – Love and respect for one another
Whakamaumaharatanga - Remembrance
Kotahitanga – Unity
Manaakitanga – Caring
Tohatoha - Sharing
Mana Taiao – Environmental awareness
Kaihaukai – Feasting
Wānanga – Discussion
Noho tahi – Coming together
Ngākau Atawhai - Kindness
Whakanui – Celebrations
Tuakiritanga - Identity
"One of my hopes and dreams is about the health and wellbeing of the planet, of Papatuanuku. I hope that humanity can reconnect to the environment and work towards a sustainable world and healthy environment for all of us. It’s a hope that’s appropriate to the stars of Matariki as most of the stars are linked to our environment.”
I hope that humanity can reconnect to the environment and work towards a sustainable world and healthy environment for all of us.
What are you doing for Matariki 2022?
SfTI Co-chair Te Taka Keegan (Waikato-Maniapoto, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whakaaue)
I am going to strive very hard to get as much as my family as possible together that weekend. One of the mornings we will get up before dawn, to try and see Matariki. When we do, we will reflect back on those close to us who have recently passed. We will have a celebration meal where each family member will have to bring one food type. We will take a moment at the meal to reflect on what is ahead of us. But mostly we will take time to enjoy each other's company.
Kaihautū SfTI Kahui Māori Nancy Garrity (Ngāti Makirangi, Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāti Hine)
For us Matariki will be a quiet a time to reflect and reset. My husband and I will be up before dawn to meet the sunrise for a surf. It’s a time to sit with our taiao and marvel, feeling privileged to share it with love ones and like-minded people. In between waves is a good time to think about my whānau who have passed, knowing I’d get an eye-roll from them for being out on the water. As my whānau are spread across country and in England we will be sharing our kai and much kōrero over Zoom.
SfTI Director Professor Sally Davenport
I'm heading up to Auckland to meet my niece for the first time, as it's also her first birthday. We'll be catching up with family that we haven't seen for the past year or longer. I'll also be visiting the Inside Dali exhibition!