Matariki – Maori New Year

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Matariki, the Maori New Year, is rich with tradition. Discover the importance of Matariki, and explore ways that you can celebrate the Maori New Year with your family.

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.

When is Matariki celebrated?

Matariki begins to rise in the last few days of May, and this symbolises the coming of the Maori New Year. Some iwi (tribes) start celebrations when Matariki is first seen, however it is the first new moon after Matariki that officially signals the Maori New Year. Some people celebrate the New Year on the day the new moon rises, and others celebrate on the day after the new moon. Celebrations can last up to 3 days.

The Matariki new moon happens sometime in June.

Upcoming dates:

2015 – 18 June

2016 – 6 June

2017 – 25 June

2018 – 15 June

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.

How is Matariki celebrated?

Traditionally Matariki was celebrated by gathering with whanau (family) and reflecting on the past. The festival’s connection to the stars provided an opportunity for families to remember their whakapapa (genealogy) and those ancestors who had passed away to the heavens. Offerings were made to land-based gods who would help provide good crops, and new trees were planted to signal new beginnings.

Many of these traditional celebrations are still practiced today, however there are many others ways that Matariki is celebrated also. Most celebrations focus around music, song, dance, food and family, and celebrations can last up to 3 days.

How do communities recognise Matariki?

Matariki is a good opportunity for Maori to share their stories and culture with the wider community, and many events and activities are planned throughout the country to share and celebrate Matariki. Some common events and activities include:

  • Concerts and cultural performances
  • Art exhibitions
  • Art and Craft Workshops
  • The sharing of myths and legends
  • Astronomy Workshops
  • Hangi and Feasts
  • Dawn Ceremonies
  • Family Days
  • Tree Planting in Conservation Areas
  • Whakapapa (Genealogy) Workshops
  • Cooking Demonstrations

How can you celebrate Matariki with your family?

There are lots of ways you can celebrate Matariki with your family, and in doing so, start your own family traditions. Some ideas to get you started include:

A Family Feast

Make Matariki a time when the whole family gets together to feast and give thanks. It may be a nice opportunity to explore traditional Maori food like hangi and rewena (Maori bread).

A New Harvest

Use Matariki as a time to clear the winter vegetables, and prepare your vegetable garden for the new planting. It could become a family tradition to do the gardening altogether – at least for one day of the year.

Tree Planting

Contact your local Department of Conservation to find out if there are any regeneration projects happening in your area. Organise to plant a tree on Matariki, or better still, get together with a group of friends and plant several.

Sleep Under the Stars

Spend a night sleeping under the stars (or under a tent!), and tell your own family stories. You may want to talk about family memories, or create goals for the coming lunar year.

New Years Resolutions

Most of us create New Years Resolutions in January, but by the time June rolls around they are long forgotten. Why not use Matariki as a time to renew your resolutions.

Attend a Matariki Event

Matariki events are held right throughout the country, and new comers are usually welcomed as people are eager to share their culture. To find out what Matariki events are happening in your area, contact your local Marae or Maori Trust.

Happy New Year.

Related Websites

Matariki craft ideas 

www.matarikievents.co.nz

Matariki website by New Zealand Maori Tourism Council which includes a comprehensive list of Matariki events within every region around New Zealand.

www.nzonscreen.com/collection/the-matariki-collection

A collection of New Zealand television content focused around Matariki.

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The Kiwi Families Team

This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

  • Cmbubblez1

    when i matariki it dosent say

    • http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz Rochelle Gribble

      Hi there,

      In 2012, it will be the 21st of June.

      Thanks,

      Rochelle

    • http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/ Rochelle Gribble

      Hi there, 

      In 2012, it’s June 21st. 
      Thanks, 

      Rochelle

      • Corey

        epicly AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Noor4eva

    hi i just want to find out why does nz celebrate matariki?

    • Noor Aljbouri!

      i dont know?

    • http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/ Rochelle Gribble

      Hi Noor4eva

      We don’t ‘officially’ celebrate Matariki in NZ – in that it’s not a public holiday or anything like that… it’s more like a celebration like Mother’s Day where it has grown in popularity over the years. I think one of the reasons that some people celebrate Matariki is that it’s nice to have a ‘local’ festival- something that is unique to New Zealand and at the Maori culture. Cultures all over the world celebrate a ‘New Year’ of some kind and I guess Matariki is our own version. 

      Thanks, 

      Rochelle

      • Guest

        I find it a little poignant that it is subtly recognised as a celebration however if you look around during the Chinese new year there appear to be many whom recognise that… Just saying

        • http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/ Rochelle Gribble

          Hi Guest, 

          I think recognition of Matariki has increased heaps in the last few years… there are many celebrations in my local community this year… 

          Thanks! 

          Rochelle

          • Tepora Ahomiro

            Well maybe you don’t understand the true culture of been Maori in how our people Respect..an karakia in everything tht they do..an if you are pakeha then we would understand in why..you have NO..knowledge..of the TRUE meaning of Matariki Day for our Maori peoples xx

          • Roimata

            I live in Hong Kong, I am Maori. When you live in a place as diverse as this, you learn that it is great to celebrate who we are and where we come from. We celebrate Chinese New Year in our village, our children go to local Chinese schools and we are welcomed by the local people here. Matariki is not just for Maori but a chance for people to come together, manaakitanga, kotahitangi no matter where you come from. It’s awesome to see all the events popping up around Matariki and to see people educating others about it. I am learning more and more each year, that’s what it’s all about. Thanks Kiwi Families for doing your part. Ngā mihi mahana mo te tau hōu. Roimata

      • Honeygurl

        Actually we celebrate because Matariki was a real big help too Us Maori back in the days it helped them too navigate Land too Land(:
        Geet it right Rochelle

      • triple7

        Matariki is celebrated by Maori as our Maori New Year. Matariki has been celebrated in Aotearoa as our traditional Maori New Year by Maori who follow the tradition, all the generations of our Maori race. However it is pakeha who have made it into a festival of selling and a festival of markets. When we celebrate our new year it is a time for whanau activites of preparing the soil and home for winter and after the preparation have finished we harvest our kai and feast. We have OFFICIALLY celebrated Matariki Maori New Year all our Maori generations except recently, some Maori choose not to follow traditional Maori celebrations and go to the pub with their pakeha mates and get drunk instead!!

      • baylee

        kia ora Noor4eva
        new zealands like us celebrate matariki because its the maori new year its kinda like christmas or thanks giving its to remember our whakapapa/family.

        • Tepora Ahomiro

          Nah Bullshit it means more then tht mate..in wot you are sayin..it is..lol Our Tupuna n Elders Karakia everything an i mean everything thru..the mind an Body..an the Sole..each Tribe.made sure in how they korero there whakaroa tu each other.. an then it was handed down tu each whanau..rite tu there tamariki everything was sed thru word of mouth..Now you go find wot the True meaning is..cos i’ll tell you rite now..you will neva find our True meaning in how it was..they will not tell you unless you are part of there Iwi or hapu..lol Our maori Peoples..made Matariki Day thru..Te Atua a Father of all Fathers..Soo Sacrite tu all our peoples..now you go an read the Sun..an the Moon..the Land..our rivers..an the Oceans..the Trees..the Bush..etc etc..an see wot you comes ups with blank nothin..our maori peoples only shared everything together as One..from each Maori Tribe tu the other an it was sed in our language.te reo Maori..not any other language xx

      • Tepora Ahomiro

        Dum Arss..bitch there was only 1 language ..before you came along..u don’t kno..nothin aye..you don’t have a Version or a Culture or feet tu even stand on mate..you came from England with NO..Culture..with nothing..an your Captain Crook tht bought you here tu our tangata whenua..well he was bee..headed..cos he was a thief an a liar..an a unforgiving Son of a Cunt..an he shot most of our maori peoples you all did..is tht rite you ploody did..He shot.. most of our Maori Tupuna..young worriors..woman an kids. u just lucky you still sittin on our Tangata te whenua..oh Miss..kno..it all aye..thts your shit version..in how you think in wot Matariki Day.really means.. tu you..it means Jack shit..tu us..in wot you think it is..you think you kno.. how our maori walk the talk there.. whakaroa n korero..dum Arss..bitch..an you are who ??at the end of the day you are really a nothing but a Criminal.. in our eyes ..an Aotearoa is the name..of our Land..Sacrite..Fish. Land of the Long White Cloud..oh thts rite you none..an have rites at all…lol an NO..we only have 1 oh Yess..hang..on.. we even took your English..language..cos yous didn’t kno..how tu spell.or talk your own English shit..words dum farts..Maori tu clever for yous mate..lol the Queen had tu bring all you red necks..an her children tu our Lands soo we could teach everyone how tu speak proper..English.. well i’ll be…an thts the true version..in how we are as maori…we are rated for number 1 in the whole wide World..for English an yeah an thts rite we now have 2 language now hahahaha lol Our Culture..an our tangata whenua mate an you can just sit on yours where eva tht is..xx ps..during the maori Wars..against the white man you dum arss Surrendered tu us..an thts why we have a Maori Treaty..wot you got lol an yous still think yous can tell us all wot tu do..an even still tell us Wots the true meaning of Matariki Day is..bullshit not anymore..lol

    • Tirarau

      coz were cool like that

      • Tirarau

        yeeh buddy

    • Tirarau

      mohio koe ki te korero koe i te reo maori ne e tama

      • tane

        ae

    • Honeygurl

      Because of Matariki Back in the Days Maori Were able to navigate
      Is that good enough

    • the howling wolf

      maori lived here (some still do) and matariki is an important part of maori life.

    • Guest

      Nz Celebrates Marariki Becasue Nz Is True Moari Stuff

    • girlzrock

      why don’t you go on the website why does nz celebarate matariki?

      • Tepora Ahomiro

        Who cares..how the pakeha writes or says it..on his computer.. or in a letter it don’t mean nothing wen its sed from the horses mouth our Tupuna an Elders made this Day.. a sacrite..Day..where they karakia in everything tht they done..it neva came from a Book it was handed down thru..each tribe..an then on tu there whanau..True means of woteva has been sed an all handed down thr..word of mouth from our Tupuna an Eilders an tu there whanau xx

    • cool4eva

      go on the website why does nz celebrate matariki!!

    • Neon1234

      It’s up at the top I am saying to help but u did this 3 three! Years ago…….

  • Noor4eva

    like mine and i will like yours!

  • Darcyrosewalker

    interesting

  • Yeahbuddy

    ILOVEE this website because it had a lot of interesting information lolz hahhaha 

  • Yeahbuddy

    i <3 dis wbste coz it hd alt of usefl info!

  • YEAHBUDDY

    NOHT EVEN ;P 

  • Lowla

    Hello!! Why is Matariki important?

    • http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/ Rochelle Gribble

      It’s important because it marked the beginning of the New Year for Maori. 

      Hope that helps :) 

  • Secretb

    good article

    • http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/ Rochelle Gribble

      Thanks! 

    • Rochelle

      Thanks!

  • Maxmanning

    matariki is cool

  • guy

    how do we have matariki?

    • http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/ Rochelle Gribble

      Hi Guy,

      I’m not sure what you mean?

      Thanks,

      Rochelle

  • sarah

    hi i was wondering what are some of the explanations given for the origins of the cluster of stars associated with the Maori New Year?

    • http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/ Rochelle Gribble

      Hi Sarah,

      There’s a whole heap of information on the Pleiades constellation here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleiades which might help.

      Good luck!

      Rochelle

  • ripstar

    Kia Ora

    The relevance of Matariki is celebrated by us who understand the significance surrounding it.
    Matariki for my family was the time when the crops were harvested and certain jobs were fulfilled. Ensuring you had ample supply of food for the winter etc would mean a general timing of planting/food gathering, Maori people were a commuinty who worked together to make this happen, as you would be fully aware in the times of our ancestors they did not have the luxury of picking up the phone to call whanau when it was time to harvest…. therefore we use the moon, stars, sun to dictate when it was suitable to plant and gather etc.
    Matariki itself is when the “seven sisters” enters the sky, so when Maori see it, they start harvesting, and because we harvest together It means we are working together and what better way to end a hard days work than to eat together and celebrate as one.

    Kia Ora

    • http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/ Rochelle Gribble

      Kiaora Ripstar,

      Thanks heaps for that great explanation!

      Naku noa,

      Rochelle

  • Honeygurl

    Ka Pai A greaat Read(:

  • Dancer4EVEA

    Hey do you know when and where matariki was first celebrated bye.

  • charlotte

    it is really interesting my class is going to like this :) if they don,t :(

  • charlotte

    we celebrate matariki for our culture

  • charlotte

    1 love matariki

  • charlotte

    i love matariki :)

  • fletcher

    matariki is italian you know

    • Tepora Ahomiro

      YOU KNO..WOT ITS DUM ARSS PEOPLES LIKE YOU THE FKS UPS THE SYSTEM IN OUR THE MAORI PEOPLES MADE IT..

  • jamie lee

    hey gurlfriend i was wondering when we first discovered matariki thanks todles xx :))))))

  • dylan

    thank you for helping me doing my homework

  • fifita

    hi umm what do the 7 seven stars represent

  • Simone Ellison-Henderson

    I just want to know about modern Matariki for school

    • Tepora Ahomiro

      WOT MODERN..WAY..NOTHING PLOODY CHANGED.. IT WILL ALWAYS BE THE SAME EGG HEADS WHO ARE YOU TU CHANGE WOT OUR TUPUNA AN MAORI ELDERS PUT TOGETHER

  • JUSTIS

    AWESOME :)

  • taannz

    the introduction of matariki is govenment generated as a front to being culturally sensitive to the ways of te maori’… each iwi have their own name for their planting stars and matariki is not one we associate with back home in tuhoe land – we have te whetu whanau’ northland have parearau and so on and so forth – planting time when matariki appears happens in the northern hemisphere we are at the bottom of the earth therefore our whenua is noa or at rest during the winter months – anyway im not sure why the drive to celebrate when most maori land has been eaten up by government themselves and have you seen the price of land today? so with one hand we promote planting while the other hand has been chopped off’

  • Carolinebubble

    How did they know matariki was happening?

    • Niamh

      it was just around that time so they remembered that that would be a reminder to harvest their crops

      hope it helps

  • Carolinebubble

    Please help answer my question. Anyone……………..

  • Guest

    What Dose Matariki Like To Where on that day.

  • Guest

    Hello Tupu

  • IM AWESOME

    hi just want to find out-what is the purpose of having matariki?

    • IM a guest

      help please

  • guest

    wow this has really helped me with my matariki report thanks to who ever created this page

  • Annie Bats

    I will definitely be celebrating Matariki this is our new year and time to remember those who have passed on, giving thanks for the bountiful for then nutritional food we grow, acknowledging our whanau and of course our uniqueness as New Zealanders. Lastly thank goodness Matariki has not been commercialised like Xmas, Mother’s Day etc and l hope it never will be.

  • yolo

    NZ celebrate matariki because maori lived here (some still do) and matariki is important in the maori culture

  • liv

    I really love matariki it just fells like I get two maori new years

  • Nasreen

    This Was Really Helpfull For My Homework

  • Nasreen

    This Site Is Helpfull

  • rico

    so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so cooooolllll : )

  • Tea ute

    When is the maori new year?

    • http://www.radha10.com/ Radha Jhons

      Matariki comes at the last days of may and is between June and July

  • haidyn

    How long do the celebrations go for?

  • trace

    Umm…if you read the article at the top it will tell you what matariki is, its significance and why we celebrate during this time of the year. It may not be recognised world wide, but if you had a ethnic population in the billions then Id say you stand a better chance of becoming more recognised. I dont know why im even answering some of the dumb n ignorant posts on here. Do some research before posting dont be lazy and or ignorant.

  • Caleb Kaukau

    hi tirarau

  • Caleb Kaukau

    chip man here

  • jawdi

    I can’t help but think that you ask questions for answers you already know! If you are looking for answers research your questions instead of using a site like this to request answers. A lot of people have there own beliefs about matariki and will elaborate accordingly. Which will provide you with a different context to your own answers. It has been written basically for you above this comment box area.

  • kirron

    very good site,answered all of the questions i had!!!!

  • http://www.radha10.com/ Radha Jhons

    really nice information about matariki
    Iam a Māori as well and I love it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)

  • Mohi Chase

    Thank you for the very much for your detailed ‘treatise’ – article of Matariki and the Maori New Year.

    I digress a little and will return:

    My wife and I watched a documentary a few days ago where some of the Greatest Historians of our time ‘greatly lauded’ Polynesians (as a whole) as the most skilled sea travelers in history. They said Polynesians saw the Pacific Ocean as a ‘great highway’ and used it to it’s full capacity, and not only did they ‘give tribute’ to our Waka-taua (twin canoe catamaran) but also to the great skill of ‘Navigation by the Stars.
    Did you know us Polynesians cover the largest expanse on earth, over 70 million sq/kms, even larger than Russian.

    Our Polynesian ‘Tipuna’ who sailed the Pacific, not only discovered the many beautiful Pacific Islands and claimed them, they are now also credited as the first discoverers of South America on their Waka-taua, before Christopher Columbus and his Armada (fleet).

    Our ‘Tipuna’ lived their daily lives in harmony with the sea, the land and the ‘Stars’ which brings me back to the Matariki (the Pleiades star cluster, 7 stars …), the connection to the ‘end of harvest’, ‘beginning of the new planting season’ and the ‘Maori New Year’ which brings much celebration and cultural music and festivities.

    To learn that our Tipuna are now recognized, acknowledged and honored by todays Historians as ‘histories greatest Sailors and Navigators’, I can only say ‘that is Tu Meke!’ (Awesome!)

    This is not a ‘karakia (Prayer) but I have say, “Kia Kaha Tipuna, Ake Ake AKe Amene”.

    I’m one proud Kiwi . . Haahaahaa! (Belly LOL!) . . . ChurChurr!

  • Lydia

    What do people give to each other on matariki?

  • kitkat

    Do you celebrate Matariki in other countries? What do you eat in Matariki?And possibly do you know what year it started? Sorry for all the question.

  • Ize

    Matariki has been celebrated by Maori as part of our heritage since way back however the marketing and exploitation of this integral part of our annual calendar has seen modern day NZers view it as merely a festival. In western terms I would liken it to xmas celebrations but without presents, a time for families to gather together but for Maori it also means to remember those who have passed on and celebrate those who have joined the family fold, re-establishing and maintaining our whakapapa links. It also signifies the times to prepare for planting/harvesting and by the appearance of the 7 stars whether or not the oncoming seasons will bring an abundance of harvest or otherwise.

  • Neon1234

    Hi I am from Point veiw neon1234 is not my name and I am here to know stuff about matariki for my homework

  • Neon1234

    Don’t say I am not allowed please this is the best web site I could find…..

  • Neon1234

    I AM NEW MY SCHOOL IS POINT VEIW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • PugLover

    hi just wanted to ask how did the maori ancestors use matariki and for what?

  • Rihanna

    I still don’t get what matariki day is can you please help me figure out for my homework at school.=)

  • kenny

    cool facts

  • Archie Cardno

    hey can you put in some facts? that would be cool

    • http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/ Rochelle Gribble

      Hi Archie, what kinds of facts were you after?

  • Robin green

    Did you know that the Japanese car name Subaru means matariki,which is why there are seven stars on their emblem,?

    • http://www.kiwifamilies.co.nz/ Rochelle Gribble

      Yes! That’s right – great point :) Thanks for reminding me!

  • Jack BLAKE

    So retaded

  • Jack BLAKE

    Minecraft

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