Matariki atua ka eke mai I te rangi e roa, ē. Whāngainga iho ki te mata o te tau roa, ē.
To Matariki the stars that herald the return of light, bringing new life, new growth.
This month, the Mental Health Foundation is joining many New Zealanders to celebrate Matariki, the Māori New Year.
Matariki is celebrated when the Matariki star cluster reappears at dawn in the eastern sky for the first time in late May or early June.
Matariki is a time to get together with whānau and loved ones to remember the past twelve months, reflect on how we’ve grown and changed, and plan and dream for the future. For many it’s a time to connect nature, to gather with family and learn about whakapapa, sing songs and tell stories.
Many Māori believed that Matariki foretold the weather ahead – if the first rising of Matariki was clear and bright, the season ahead would be warm and plentiful. If Matariki was blurry or hazy, the winter ahead would be cold and hard to endure.
Matariki means “the eyes of god” (Mata ariki) or “tiny eyes” (Mata Riki). In some Māori legends, Matariki is a mother surrounded by her six daughters. The cluster can be seen all around the world, and is also known as the Pleiades.
Traditionally, Matariki was celebrated at the end of harvest when food was plentiful so whānau could come together for a feast.
Matariki is also a time to remember those we have lost whose wairua (spirits) have returned home. The Mental Health Foundation wishes to particularly acknowledge the loss of our former colleague, Russell Tuffery, who is remembered with great fondness. May he rest in peace.
Matariki is celebrated with the planting of new trees and crops, signalling a new beginning. It’s a time for offerings to nga Atua to support new growth.
For the Mental Health Foundation, Matariki has brought a new chief executive, Shaun Robinson. He brings new ideas and opportunities to our work.
Over the next four weeks, look out for Matariki Mondays on our Facebook page. We’ll be exploring how to incorporate the Five Ways to Wellbeing into our celebrations. We’ve already started to Keep Learning with a wonderful video produced by The Wireless about why we celebrate Matariki. We warmly invite you to share your Matariki traditions with us on Facebook.
Mā te rongo, ka mōhio; Mā te mōhio, ka mārama; Mā te mārama, ka mātau; Mā te mātau, ka ora.
Through resonance comes cognisance; through cognisance comes understanding; through understanding comes knowledge through knowledge comes life and wellbeing.
For more information on Matariki, see:
The Ministry of Culture and Heritage
Te Ara – The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Te Taura Whiri a te reo Māori (Māori language commission)’s Matariki guide
Matariki Events 2016
Here are just some of the events around Aotearoa to celebrate Matariki:
Eventfinda's Matariki events
Auckland Council's Matariki Festival 2016
Matariki Wellington 2016 events
Te Papa - A month of Matariki events
Christchurch City Council's Matariki events
Dunedin City Council's 2016 Matariki events