Stacey Morrison explains Matariki and how we can celebrate it this year

This year for the very first time Matariki, often referred to as Māori New Year, will be observed as an official public holiday in Aotearoa.

While Matariki - the celebration of the rising of the Matariki constellation - is uniquely Māori is does take other forms in other cultures across the world and throughout history.

Friend of The Hits Stacey Morrison joined Megan Papas on the 3PM Pick Up to explain some of the aspects of Matariki that we may not know about.

"[The Matariki constellation] does actually rise and set, so there is a period where you can’t see it, so when it comes back this is when we start to look at it as a time of renewal,” Stacey Morrison explained.

"Matariki, as we can see it clearly from here, has nine stars and each of them relates to different parts of our environment and one of them, Pōhutukawa, also asks us to think about those that we’ve lost in the last year, to remember them with them."

"And also, Hiwa-i-te-Rangi is the wishing star so we can go, OK and this is my intention for the year ahead," Stace added.

The names of the remaining stars are: Matariki, Tupuārangi, Waipuna-ā-Rangi, Waitī, Tupuānuku, Ururangi and Waitā.

Stacey also suggested that Matariki is a great time together with those you love and enjoy a mid-winter Matariki feast, giving thanks for the year that has just gone and looking forward to the year ahead.

"And then you’ve done it and you’ve really gotten into the spirit of Matariki," she said. "Anything that brings your family together. It’s not so much what you eat but who you’re with and where your mindful intention is."

We hope everyone has a lovely Matariki, which will be observed this year on Friday, June 24.