This week New Zealand celebrates Matariki as a public holiday for the first time. Here, Victoria Campbell (Kāi Tahu), explains some of the mātauranga (traditional knowledge) around the constellation and its place in the traditions of the mana whenua of the South.

MATARIKI

Mānawa maiea te putanga o Matariki
Mānawa maiea te ariki o te rangi
Mānawa maiea te mātahi o te tau

Tātai aroraki (astronomy) involves the study of the stars, including the moon, planets, and astronomical activities. For millennia, our ancestors have built an understanding of the universe and how it works while maintaining and sharing this knowledge through waiata, karakia, pūrākau, art, crafts, and architecture.
More than 800 years ago our forebears used their in-depth comprehension of tātai aroraki to traverse the great Pacific Ocean navigating by the stars, ocean currents, winds, and migratory patterns of wildlife. Our connection to the natural world is best described through the lens of whakapapa/genealogy. Our tribal narratives and whakapapa explain the structure, systems and relationships that govern our interactions with the natural world. Nā te pō, ko te ao, ko te ao mārama.

WHAKAAHUA: IAN GRIFFIN

WHAKAAHUA: IAN GRIFFIN

PUAKA

For Kāi Tahu here in the South, the star Puaka (Rigel in Orion) has important significance and is associated with the new lunar year because it indicates a seasonal change and has connections to mahika kai – activities associated with planting, harvesting, the natural cycles of species including flora and fauna and the management of these resources.
Puaka is linked with health and well-being and can be described in the kīwaha – Puaka tohu rau. Puaka, the harbinger.

MATARIKI

Matariki huka nui, Matariki ahuka. Matariki tāpuapua, ka hora Matariki. Ka rewa a Matariki ka rere te kanakana. Maoka ko te hunu e, ko Matariki e.

Matariki is the star Alcyone in the open star cluster Pleiades or M45. However, the term Matariki is also applied to the entire star cluster. The pre-dawn rising of Matariki heralds the Māori New Year.
Matariki, the star, is surrounded by her eight children who have various connections to us and the natural world. Stars within the Matariki cluster are also associated with mahika kai and observed as part of the preparations for the impending season.
Matariki signifies a time of reflection, remembrance, celebration, and preparation. The star Matariki is associated with health and well-being, including the health and well-being of te taiao, the environment. Mānawatia a Matariki. Matariki Mana Taiao.

PŌHUTUKAWA

E tū Pōhutukawa, he pae whakamahara mō kā tau kahuraki. Kia poroporoaki ai rātou ko mau ki te kupeka o Taramainuku. Haere rā koutou kia whetūrakitia.

Pōhutukawa is the star Sterope and is associated with our loved ones who have passed since the last heliacal rising of Matariki.

TUPU-Ā-RAKI

E tū Tupu-ā-raki, te whetū o kā pihi raki mai, kā manu, kā rākau, kā tamariki o te wao nui ā Tāne. Kia matomato ai te nehenehe o Tāne, kia mōmona ai kā manu e!

Tupu-ā-raki is the star Atlas and is connected to food grown above ground, such as birds and trees. During the pre-dawn rising of Matariki observations would be made to determine the impending bounty of the year based on stars like Tupu-ā-raki and their appearance.

TUPU-Ā-NUKU

E tū Tupu-ā-nuku, kia tupu ai kā pihi nuku mai. Kia haumako ai te whenua nei, e hauhake ai e!

Tupu-ā-nuku is the star Pleione and is associated with food grown in our gardens, such as aruhe (fern root) and vegetables. Star patterns contribute to an intricate system of time keeping that also includes the sun, the moon, and the environment. The study of stars such as Tupu-ā-nuku and our environment help us to understand the natural world and live in symbiosis.

URURAKI

Hokia ki tō mauka kia purea ai i kā hau o Tāwhirimātea.

Ururaki is the star Merope and is associated with the winds. The winds are an important factor in traditional navigation practice, such as that used by Māori more than 800 years ago when navigating the Pacific. This navigational knowledge combined with other disciplines, such as tātai aroraki (astronomy), builds a broad and deep understanding of the natural world. Traditional understanding of the winds is articulated through the lens of whakapapa (genealogy). Te Pūnui o Toka (the southerly), Te Pūaitaha (the south-west wind) and Te Ope Ruaraki (the winds from the north) are examples of names for the various winds ordered within a framework of kinship.

WAIPUNARAKI

Waipunaraki, whāinumia kia tupu ai te whenua, kia tupu ai te takata.

Waipunaraki is the star Electra and is associated with the rains and precipitation. Water is an essential compound and revered by Māori. Its activities and guardianship are of utmost importance. Practitioners observe the pre-dawn rising of Matariki and these observations inform and are considered as part of the preparations for the season ahead. Let the land and people flourish.

WAITĪ

E rere te wai, hai manapou o te whenua, hai oraka mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei.

Waitī is the star Maia and is linked to fresh water including our lakes and waterways. Fresh water is integral to the sustenance of mankind and our mahika kai practices. Our waterways connect the land to the sea providing passage for important species, such as tuna (eel) and inaka (whitebait), to migrate and spawn. Ensuring our waterways are healthy is integral to our own well-being and the well-being of our environment.

WAITĀ

Kia ora ai Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, te moana me ōhona hua, hai oraka ki uta, hai oraka ki tai.

Waitā is the star Taygeta and is associated with the sea, including our great Pacific Ocean, Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa. Abundant with food sources such as kōura (crayfish) and rāwaru (blue cod), as well as other resources such as kelp used to make pōhā (kelp bag for preserved birds), its conservation is integral to our health and that of the planet. The guardianship and conservation of the ocean is a responsibility that we all need to undertake and Matariki allows us time to reflect and plan.

HIWA-I-TE-RAKI

Ko Hiwa nui, ko Hiwa roa. Ko Hiwa pūkeka, Ko Hiwa wānaka. Ko te Matahi o te tau, Matahi tupu rau, Matahi Hiwa rau.

Hiwa-i-te-raki is the star Calaeno and is associated with our hopes and aspirations. The heliacal rising of Matariki symbolises time for reflection, remembrance, celebration, and hope. It is a time to acknowledge the completion of one year and the beginning of another. Collectively, the stars within the cluster connect us to the natural world and remind us to prepare for the unknown. Whether you choose to spend Matariki acknowledging loved ones, connecting with friends and whānau, sharing kai, reflecting and planning, or just taking a moment to pause, we hope that you make some time to connect with Hiwa-i-te-raki and the hope and prosperity that the star represents.

MATARIKI

Matariki huka nui, Matariki ahuka. Matariki tāpuapua, ka hora Matariki. Ka rewa a Matariki ka rere te kanakana. Maoka ko te hunu e, ko Matariki e.

Matariki is the star Alcyone in the open star cluster Pleiades or M45. However, the term Matariki is also applied to the entire star cluster. The pre-dawn rising of Matariki heralds the Māori New Year.
Matariki, the star, is surrounded by her eight children who have various connections to us and the natural world. Stars within the Matariki cluster are also associated with mahika kai and observed as part of the preparations for the impending season.
Matariki signifies a time of reflection, remembrance, celebration, and preparation. The star Matariki is associated with health and well-being, including the health and well-being of te taiao, the environment. Mānawatia a Matariki. Matariki Mana Taiao.

PŌHUTUKAWA

E tū Pōhutukawa, he pae whakamahara mō kā tau kahuraki. Kia poroporoaki ai rātou ko mau ki te kupeka o Taramainuku. Haere rā koutou kia whetūrakitia.

Pōhutukawa is the star Sterope and is associated with our loved ones who have passed since the last heliacal rising of Matariki.

TUPU-Ā-RAKI

E tū Tupu-ā-raki, te whetū o kā pihi raki mai, kā manu, kā rākau, kā tamariki o te wao nui ā Tāne. Kia matomato ai te nehenehe o Tāne, kia mōmona ai kā manu e!

Tupu-ā-raki is the star Atlas and is connected to food grown above ground, such as birds and trees. During the pre-dawn rising of Matariki observations would be made to determine the impending bounty of the year based on stars like Tupu-ā-raki and their appearance.

TUPU-Ā-NUKU

E tū Tupu-ā-nuku, kia tupu ai kā pihi nuku mai. Kia haumako ai te whenua nei, e hauhake ai e!

Tupu-ā-nuku is the star Pleione and is associated with food grown in our gardens, such as aruhe (fern root) and vegetables. Star patterns contribute to an intricate system of time keeping that also includes the sun, the moon, and the environment. The study of stars such as Tupu-ā-nuku and our environment help us to understand the natural world and live in symbiosis.

URURAKI

Hokia ki tō mauka kia purea ai i kā hau o Tāwhirimātea.

Ururaki is the star Merope and is associated with the winds. The winds are an important factor in traditional navigation practice, such as that used by Māori more than 800 years ago when navigating the Pacific. This navigational knowledge combined with other disciplines, such as tātai aroraki (astronomy), builds a broad and deep understanding of the natural world. Traditional understanding of the winds is articulated through the lens of whakapapa (genealogy). Te Pūnui o Toka (the southerly), Te Pūaitaha (the south-west wind) and Te Ope Ruaraki (the winds from the north) are examples of names for the various winds ordered within a framework of kinship.

WAIPUNARAKI

Waipunaraki, whāinumia kia tupu ai te whenua, kia tupu ai te takata.

Waipunaraki is the star Electra and is associated with the rains and precipitation. Water is an essential compound and revered by Māori. Its activities and guardianship are of utmost importance. Practitioners observe the pre-dawn rising of Matariki and these observations inform and are considered as part of the preparations for the season ahead. Let the land and people flourish.

WAITĪ

E rere te wai, hai manapou o te whenua, hai oraka mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei.

Waitī is the star Maia and is linked to fresh water including our lakes and waterways. Fresh water is integral to the sustenance of mankind and our mahika kai practices. Our waterways connect the land to the sea providing passage for important species, such as tuna (eel) and inaka (whitebait), to migrate and spawn. Ensuring our waterways are healthy is integral to our own well-being and the well-being of our environment.

WAITĀ

Kia ora ai Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, te moana me ōhona hua, hai oraka ki uta, hai oraka ki tai.

Waitā is the star Taygeta and is associated with the sea, including our great Pacific Ocean, Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa. Abundant with food sources such as kōura (crayfish) and rāwaru (blue cod), as well as other resources such as kelp used to make pōhā (kelp bag for preserved birds), its conservation is integral to our health and that of the planet. The guardianship and conservation of the ocean is a responsibility that we all need to undertake and Matariki allows us time to reflect and plan.

HIWA-I-TE-RAKI

Ko Hiwa nui, ko Hiwa roa. Ko Hiwa pūkeka, Ko Hiwa wānaka. Ko te Matahi o te tau, Matahi tupu rau, Matahi Hiwa rau.

Hiwa-i-te-raki is the star Calaeno and is associated with our hopes and aspirations. The heliacal rising of Matariki symbolises time for reflection, remembrance, celebration, and hope. It is a time to acknowledge the completion of one year and the beginning of another. Collectively, the stars within the cluster connect us to the natural world and remind us to prepare for the unknown. Whether you choose to spend Matariki acknowledging loved ones, connecting with friends and whānau, sharing kai, reflecting and planning, or just taking a moment to pause, we hope that you make some time to connect with Hiwa-i-te-raki and the hope and prosperity that the star represents.

Victoria Campbell (Kāti Irakehu, Kāi Tahu) is a member of the national Matariki Advisory Group and general manager at Te Rūnanga o Moeraki.