Can you spy the stars of Matariki?
Mānawatia a Matariki! This Friday is the official date to welcome and honour the appearance of Matariki, heralding the start of Māori New Year.
Today marks the day that Matariki returns to our skies since last year, so for any early risers amongst us you might be able to spot Matariki before dawn. The Matariki cluster is made up of over 500 stars, but only six or seven are visible to the naked eye. Here's some information to help you find the cluster.(external link)
For many iwi and hapū, Matariki was a time when the harvests of the summer season had been appropriately stored to sustain the people through the winter and the preparations for a new season were started. It was also a time to retreat to the warmth and safety of a home base.
As the earth tilts away from the sun and we spend our shortened days looking forward to the return of Hine Raumati, the summer maiden, we can use this time to slow down a little and spend time close to home.
This Friday Matariki will be a public holiday, marking Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Te Ao Māori holiday. It will be a day to spend sharing food, stories, knowledge and memories. Weather events, icy roads and an increase in home heating make winter a very busy time for our people. We hope that those who can take advantage of the day are able to spend it in a way that fills their tank and lifts their wairua, spirits. Whether it’s rugged up at home with loved ones, out and about in our communities or spending some time alone enjoying nature.
Ways you can honour the appearance of Matariki;
♦ Learn something new, like the traditions of this country which go back hundreds of years!
♦ Get into nature, Matariki is an opportunity for to honour our environment
♦ Make plans for the year coming, maybe plan to grow a garden?
♦ Exchange handmade gifts
♦ Have a Matariki feast
♦ Light a candle (safely) to remember loved ones who are no longer with us
♦ Finally have fun! You can spend this time telling stories, playing board games or learning new waiata.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand is committed to working with Māori as tangata whenua and aspires to become a more culturally capable organisation. Check out our Kaupapa Māori Portal page to learn more about this.