matarikiFrom June 7 – to mid-July

Matariki, the Maori new year is marked by the rise of the Pleiades star cluster Matariki, and the sighting of the next new moon.  Different tribes celebrate Matariki at different times. You may want to check out your local Council or Library website to see when it is being celebrated in your region.

‘God hung the stars in the sky – the Great Bear, Orion, the Pleiades and the stars of the south. We cannot understand the great things he does, and to his miracles there is no end’ Job 9:9-10

Why do we celebrate Matariki today?

Today Matariki means celebrating the unique place in which we live and giving respect to the land we live on.

How is Matariki celebrated?

Matariki is celebrated with education, remembrance and the planting of new trees and crops signaling new beginnings. It’s a time to learn about the land we live on and to remember whakapapa (ancestry) who have passed from this world to the next and the legacy they left behind.

How long do celebrations last?

Celebrations last up to 3 days after the new moon has risen.

Did you know?

In Maori Mata Riki means tiny eyes and Mata Ariki means eyes of God? Traditionally, the visibility of Matariki determined the coming season’s crop. The brighter the stars, the warmer the season and therefore a more productive crop. It is still seen as an important time for the family to gather and reflect on the past and the future.

A Matariki Liturgy

The children of  St Andrew’s on The Terrace in Wellington led a Matariki service. Together we wrote  liturgy, chose poems to read and made star decorations to hang from the cross and under the balcony. We decorated the walls with Matariki posters from the Maori Language Commission, and The Green Rule posters from Faith and the Common Good.


For great background information on Matariki and some teaching resources see the following websites:

Kiwi Families Matariki

Matariki Crafts

Matariki Teachers’ Resource

Matariki Classroom Resources