This is what each of the nine stars of Matariki represent

It’s official! New Zealand now has a new public holiday to celebrate Matariki!

Matariki marks the rising of the cluster of stars known as the Pleiades. It usually rises in late May or early June. In Māori tradition it is seen as a time of renewal.

But what exactly do each of the nine stars of the Matariki constellation represent? 


Photo / Creative Commons

According to the TePapa Museum of New Zealand, each star has its own special meaning.

What the stars mean:

Matariki is the star that signifies reflection, hope, our connection to the environment, and the gathering of people. Matariki is also connected to the health and well-being of people.

Waitī is associated with all freshwater bodies and the food sources that are sustained by those waters.

Waitā is associated with the ocean and food sources within it.

Waipuna-ā-rangi is associated with the rain.

Tupuānuku is the star associated with everything that grows within the soil to be harvested or gathered for food.

Tupuārangi is associated with everything that grows up in the trees: fruits, berries, and birds.

Ururangi is the star associated with the winds.

Pōhutukawa is the star associated with those that have passed on.

Hiwa-i-te-rangi is the star associated with granting our wishes and realising our aspirations for the coming year.

The last two stars mentioned, Pōhutukawa and Hiwa-i-te-rangi, are particularly important to us this year as our focus is on reflecting on what we can learn from the past and those who have passed on in order to realise our aspirations for the coming year. 

We hope you all are able to take time to reflect during Matariki with it marked as an official public holiday for the first time this Friday, June 24.