Matariki - the Māori New Year

Publish Date
Friday, 27 June 2014, 11:47AM

What is Matariki?

Matariki is the Maori name for a group of seven stars known as the Pleiades star cluster. Some people think of Matariki as a mother star with six daughters, and it is often referred to as the Seven Sisters.

Matariki appears in the eastern sky sometime around the shortest day of the year, and is thought to determine how successful the harvest crop will be in the coming season. The brighter the stars, the more productive the crop will be.


What does Matariki mean?

Matariki has two meanings, both of which refer to the cluster of stars. Mata Riki means Tiny Eyes, and Mata Ariki means Eyes of God.


Why is Matariki important?

In years gone by, Matariki was thought to determine your crop for the coming season, and therefore it was important to recognise the part it played in nature’s cycle. The disappearance of Matariki in Autumn, signaled the time to gather and preserve crops, and so was an important marker in the harvest calender.

Nowadays, Matariki is seen as an important time to celebrate the earth, and show respect for the land on which we live.

 

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Source: kiwifamilies.co.nz