Discover the significance of Matariki, the Māori New Year, and its traditions. Unite with whānau and community to celebrate through feasts, storytelling, or remembering loved ones. Ideas to create your own Matariki traditions.
Matariki: Celebrating the Māori New Year with Traditions and Connection with Whānau, Friends and Community
Matariki, also known as the Pleiades, Subaru, or the Seven Sisters, is a small cluster of stars in the Taurus constellation. In New Zealand, it becomes visible on the northeastern horizon during early winter, just before dawn. This celestial event marks the Māori New Year and holds great significance.
Different Māori iwi celebrate Matariki at various times. Some hold festivities when the stars first appear in the dawn sky, while others celebrate after the full moon's rise or at the beginning of the next new moon. Proverbs and songs passed down through generations link Matariki with the bright star Whānui, also known as Vega.
Ka puta Matariki ka rere Whānui. Ko te tohu tēnā o te tau e!
Matariki re-appears, Whānui starts its flight. Being the sign of the year!
Traditions and Celebrations
Matariki is when whānau and communities unite to honour their heritage and participate in and enjoy customs and festivities. Families gather for feasts, cultural performances, storytelling, and traditional arts and crafts. it is a very special time remembering and honouring passed loved ones. Sharing knowledge, passing down ancestral wisdom, and fostering a sense of unity are important aspects of Matariki celebrations.
Matariki in Modern Times
While Matariki has always been a significant celebration in Maori culture, its recognition and observance have been recognised recently. Schools, businesses, and communities across New Zealand now actively engage in Matariki-related activities, including stargazing events, art exhibitions, and educational programs.
Matariki encourages a deep connection with nature and highlights the importance of environmental stewardship. Many communities organise tree planting, beach cleanups, and other initiatives to care for the Earth. This aspect of Matariki reminds us of our responsibility to preserve the planet for future generations.
Ideas to Celebrate or Start New Traditions
No matter where you are in Aotearoa or the world, you can celebrate with your friends and whānau.
It may be a simple breakfast together on the beach watching the sunrise or a glorious feast that took a day to prepare
Remembering passed loved ones
Share stories and look at photos and honour their memory.
You may want to do something symbolic, like lighting a candle, releasing flowers into a pond, lake or river, or blowing bubbles of "love" up into the sky.
Journal or reflect
Take some time for yourself. Find a comfy chair and reflect on the past 12 months. You may write down some memories, hopes, and dreams for the next year.
Games and Actitivies
Gather around a cozy fire, engage in fun games, and share stories that strengthen bonds.
Consider organising a neighbourhood ritual or celebration to come together in celebration and unity.
Matariki is a time to connect with nature, celebrate community, and embrace new beginnings. By participating in these simple yet meaningful traditions, you can engage in the spirit of Matariki and create lasting memories with your loved ones.
I wish you a joyous Matariki celebration filled with warmth, togetherness, and the spirit of renewal.
How do you celebrate Matariki in your home?
Love Jade, x
My Celebrant journey began in 2017, and I now have had over 600 beautiful weddings, funerals, naming, MC and special occasion events.
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