Matariki is a group of stars that appears in the night sky in midwinter, and shares its name with the celebrations that take place around this time. Sometimes called the Māori New Year, Matariki provides time to gather with family and friends to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and plan for the future.
In the traditional Māori lunar calendar, called the Maramataka, the new year begins with the first new moon after Matariki appears in the sky. The brightest star in the cluster is called Matariki too - it’s said to be the mother of the other stars that surround it.
You might have heard the Matariki cluster of stars referred to as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters in English.
HOW DO WE CELEBRATE MATARIKI?
Traditionally, Matariki was a time when food stores had been built up, which meant more free time for whānau and communities to spend together, often making time to acknowledge the dead and to release their spirits to become stars. People would get together to share kai, kōrero, ceremony and entertainment, and look forward to the new year ahead.
The Government has committed to ensuring mātauranga Māori is at the heart of celebrations of the Matariki public holiday. It will be a time for:
Remembrance – Honouring those we have lost since the last rising of Matariki
Celebrating the present – Gathering together to give thanks for what we have
Looking to the future – Looking forward to the promise of a new year
WHEN IS IT?
Not all iwi mark Matariki at the same time. The festivities are typically celebrated between late June and mid-July, depending on where in the country you are.
The first public holiday to celebrate Matariki will be on Friday 24 June 2022. The future dates of the holiday, will shift every year like Easter does.