When the dazzling lights of Matariki return, bright in our dawn skies, around June or July each year, it heralds the start of the Māori New Year – Te Tau Hou Māori.
Here in Aotearoa, the appearance of these stars signals Matariki, and is a time to gather with whānau (family) and friends to reflect on the past and remember and honour those that have passed on, celebrate the present, and plan for the future. For many Māori, this time symbolises the start of the new year.
This cluster of stars, known as the Pleiades, is given the Māori name Matariki, which in Māori translates to the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). According to narrative, when Ranginui (sky father) and Papatūānuku (earth mother) were separated by their children, the god of winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry he ripped out his eyes and through them into the heavens.
NZMACI general manager, Eraia Kiel says Matariki is an occasion to celebrate and showcase traditional Māori culture.
“We use the yearly event of Matariki as a chance to celebrate Māori arts, crafts and culture. When you can see Matariki just above the horizon before the sun comes up, it is a reminder to reflect on our whakapapa (genealogy).
“There has been a revival in the celebration of Matariki since the early 2000s and it is important that institutions, such as Te Puia l NZMACI, support and foster the continuation of this important event in Māori culture, and in our modern culture.”
Matariki at TE PUIA | NZMACI
Understanding the phases of māramataka (the Māori lunar calendar), learning about the importance of Matariki, showcasing tā moko (tattoo) artists from around the region and inspiring young minds are all features of this year’s Matariki programme at Te Puia | NZMACI.
Learn about the history and traditions of Matariki, with lecturers sharing their kōrero (stories) and what this special time of year means to them.
When: Monday 23 – Friday 27 July, 9am-10am and 11am-12noon
Where: Te Aronui-ā-rua (meeting house), Te Puia
Live tā moko demonstrations
Watch reknowned tā moko practitioners in action and learn about the designs and techniques from the artists.
If you wish to have a tā moko done by one of the artists, please contact email@example.com for more information.
When: Monday 23 – Friday 27 July, 9am-4pm
Where: Tā Moko Studio, Te Puia
Toi Māori lectures
Learn about the history and traditions of tā moko (Māori tattoo), raranga (weaving) and whakairo (wood carving) from respected practitioners of these Māori art forms.
When: Monday 23 – Friday 27 July, 9am-10am, 11am-12noon
Where: Wānanga Precinct lecture room, Te Puia
Matariki tamariki activities
To celebrate and acknowledge our tamariki (children), NZMACI will host interactive Matariki activities including weaving, string games and kapa haka. The activities will be fun and informative, and suitable for tamariki aged 5 to 13 years.
Spaces are limited so please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
When: Monday 23 - Friday 27 July, 10am, 11am and 1pm (only Monday and Tuesday)
Where: Next door (left) to the retail shop, Te PuiaFor more info on the events, click here: