Matariki, the Māori New Year, is celebrated annually throughout Aotearoa New Zealand when, in mid-winter, the Matariki star cluster rises.
This signals the time of year for us all to remember those loved ones who have gone before us. It leads the way to te waka o Tamarereti, where those who have died in the past year have gathered to begin their voyage to the gathering of those who lived before them, known as tekahui o ngakahurangi.
Matariki is an abbreviation of ‘Ngā Mata o te Ariki Tāwhirimātea (‘The eyes of the god Tāwhirimātea’) and refers to the cluster of stars otherwise known as Pleiades. In the creation story, the children of Ranginui (the sky father) and Papatūānuku (the earth mother) wished to separate their parents so that light could come into the world. The only brother who did not agree to this was Tāwhirimātea, the god of wind and storms. It is said that Tāwhirimātea was so angry with his siblings for separating his parents that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.
As souls depart for their next lives, Matariki greets the rising sun – bringing, in all its glory, the promise of a new year and signaling a time to plan for the future and grasp new opportunities.
Date of issue: 4 May 2022