Matariki celebrating the new year

Matariki is the celebration of the Māori New Year. The cluster of seven stars called Matariki, also known as the Seven Sisters or Pleiades, reappear in the month of Piripi (June – July). June 15 marks the start of Matariki for most New Zealanders, with many celebrations across the country beginning this week, although some iwi celebrate Matariki at different times within this time.

How we celebrate Matariki

During Matariki we celebrate and give respect to the whenua, through different rituals and activities. Celebrations take place across the country, and include the creation and flight of traditional Māori kites (pākau) and lanterns, cultural performances and waiata from our tamariki, retelling kōrero to our whānau, as well as get togethers for hangi.

Kite flying is a special ritual that is closely linked with Matariki, as kites are seen as the connectors between Papatūānuku, the earth mother, and Ranginui, the sky father.  

At Matariki celebrations around Aotearoa, various kites are flown in the sky, just as our ancestors did. Some celebrations encourage tamariki to decorate their own kites with traditional decorations such as feathers and shells, and fly them among the stars. Other celebrations have more modern styles of kites and hot air balloons that represent how our ancestors flew kites from the hilltops.

Find Matariki in the night sky

To find Matariki in the sky, check out this video. It shows you how to find the cluster, as well as other constellations in our sky.

Events in the rohe

There are many events around the rohe to celebrate and recognise Matariki. There’s a lot to be learned so we hope you get the chance to get along to something nearby.

Celebrate Matariki with Taonga Pūoro – Nelson Provincial Museum, 15 June, 5pm – 6pm
Matariki Celebrations – Ngāti Koata Trust, 16 June,  9am – 7pm
Matariki Lantern Parade – Victory Community Centre, 27 June, 3.30 - 8pm
Matariki Open Day – Te Āwhina Marae, 13 July, 9am - 4pm

Keep up to date with these events through their Facebook pages.