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Matariki

Friday 18/06/2021

Ngā mihi o te tau hou! As the days grow shorter and winter settles in, we welcome the appearance of Matariki, signalling the Māori New Year.

Soon after Solistice on June 21st, the Matariki constellation, known also as the Seven Sisters or Pleiades, emerges from below the horizon. Traditionally  gardeners had a keen eye on the star cluster.  If they were clear and bright, it was a sign that a favourable and productive season lay ahead and planting would begin in September. If the stars appeared hazy and closely bunched together, a cold winter was in store and planting was postponed until October. With harvest complete and the storehouses full at this time, Matariki was a time for singing, dancing and feasting as well as remembering those who’d passed in the preceding year. Festivities vary from iwi to iwi, with some celebrating on the first full moon after the star cluster rises, or on the next new moon.

Flying kites “close to the stars” was an old tradition which has been revived and will be a part of this year’s celebrations as part of Auckland’s Matariki Festival. The festival offers over 100 events region-wide from June 19 - July 11.

This year’s Matariki festival is hosted by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, and includes a fantastic range of events and activities. You can see the full line-up at matarikifestival.org  

Click here to hear Whakairo specialist Nathan Pona in a special Matariki episode on Latin Kiwi. Nathan's work will be on display at Lake House Arts , Takapuna, Sunday 20 June (4 - 6pm) and at Depot Artspace, Devonport, from 26 June - July 10.

And for stargazers, here’s a video explaining how to spot Matariki: 

 

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