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Matariki Māori New Year activities at Te Puia l NZMACI

23 August 2019

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.

The Matariki programme, which runs from Monday July 23 to Friday July 27, is free for Rotorua residents with a Whānau Card. Otherwise, standard admission charges apply.

Matariki Lectures

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 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 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 Puia

For more info on the events, click here: