Seen from all over the world, the rising of the constellation Matariki in New Zealand Aotearoa signals the start of the Maori New Year.

Also commonly known as the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters, Messier 45, and Subaru, there are about a thousand stars in the constellation but only around seven are visible to the naked eye. The celebration of Matariki starts when the constellation rises above the horizon in June or July.

You can find the small cluster of stars in the north-east of the sky. Try looking before dawn about 5:30 – 6 am. There are many stories about the starts of Matariki, which can be translated as ‘Mata Ariki” (Eyes of God) or ‘Mata Riki’ (Tiny Eyes) for the delicate twinkle made by the constellation.

Traditionally the celebration of Matariki was a time to commemorate those who had passed on and celebrate a time of plenty when stores were abundant from horticulture, hunting, and fishing.

 

Matariki Reading List 

Matariki books available at the HB Williams Memorial Library - reading list

 

Matariki Macarena 

Library Staff singing Matariki Macarena

This song is sung to the tune of the Macarena, it is a handy way to learn the names of the stars.

Waitī 

Waitā 

Waipuna-a-rangi 

Tupu-a-nuku 

Tupu-a-rangi 

Ko Ururangi te potiki o te whanua Matariki 

 

Online Resources 

Matariki - NZ History Nga korero a ipurangi o Aotearoa

Story: Matariki – Māori New Year - Te Ara The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Matariki waiata (song) - Te Papa Museum of New Zealand