Matariki is the Maori New Year. Just before dawn this morning, the seven stars of the Pleiades which Maori call Matariki, appeared in the sky. Some Maori iwi celebrate Matariki after the next full moon or at the next new moon.

For Maori, it was a time of remembering those who had died during that year. It was also a time to enjoy a rest after the harvest. There was plenty of food stored for the winter so this was a time for preparing food for guests. It was also a time for relaxing by singing, dancing, weaving and carving, telling stories and flying kites.

Matariki is a reminder of the importance of the stars to Maori. They observed the night sky and used the stars to know which way to sail their waka. The first Maori who sailed to New Zealand from Hawaiki in the Pacific followed the stars at night to find a new land.

Listen to June 21st 2012 to hear more about Matariki.


• dawn – sun rise
• iwi – tribe, large family group
• harvest – gathering food e.g. digging kumera to store for the winter
• weaving – Maori cloaks, mats and kete (baskets) were woven from flax (verb: weave, wove, woven)
• carving – Maori men carved wood
• observed – watched closely
• waka – open canoes

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.