Published on Friday, 2 August 2013, 2:54 p.m. Print Article

What is Matariki?

 Matariki is the Maori name for the star cluster known as the Pleiades.  Traditionally, for Maori, when it appeared just before dawn in late May or early June, it signalled the start of the Maori New Year.  For some tribes, the rising of Puanga (Rigelin Orion) signals the start of the New Year. In the early 2000's Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori (Maori Language Commission), the Ministry of Education and the Museum of New Zealand TePapa Tongarewa, became involved in the revival of Matariki celebrations.

When is Matariki?

Different tribes celebrate Matariki at different times.  For some it is when Matariki rises in May/June.  For others it is celebrated at the first new moon, or full moon, following the rising of Matariki.  In the 21st century it is the new moon following the rising of Matariki that signals the New Year.