23 Jun Matariki Ahunga Nui 2021 – Matariki Celebration 2021
July 14 and 15 of each year is a special time in Aotearoa/New Zealand, for it signifies the beginning of the Māori new year, known as Matariki. In traditional times, special rituals were conducted by whānau, hapū and iwi to celebrate the arrival of Matariki. Nowadays, Matariki is seen as a time of renewal, where we celebrate the land, honour those who have passed, and make preparations for the new year.
Matariki is often thought of as a group of seven stars, coinciding with the ancient Greek myth of “Pleiades” being seven sisters. However, some sources claim that there are actually nine stars, rather than seven, with the last two stars, Pōhutukawa and Hiwa-i-te-rangi, being the cousins of the other seven sisters. Each of these stars has its kōrero (story) and mana to govern different aspects of earth, sky, water, sea, life and death.
The stars and their roles are as follows:
- Matariki – As the mother star, she is a leader and protector. In the new year, Matariki helps us to reflect and connect with our environment.
- Tupu-ā-nuku – The eldest daughter who nurtures the taewa (Māori potato), kumara (sweet potato) and aruhe (fern root), and other foods that grow within the soil.
- Tupu-ā-rangi – Associated with the forest foods like kōuka and other species of cabbage trees.
- Waitī – The first of the twin stars, Waitī is connected to “wai Māori” (fresh or natural water) and all it provides.
- Waitā – The second of the twins, Waitā is connected to wai tai (seawater), the oceans, tides of the sea.
- Waipuna-ā-rangi – This star provides an endless fountain of rain from the sky, which nourishes the land
- Ururangi – is the youngest sister. She is associated with the four winds of Tāwhirimātea. Ururangi reminds us of “matemate-ā-one”, or unconditional love for whānau.
- Pōhutukawa – The first of the two cousins. Pōhutukawa connects us with those who have passed away. According to Māori beliefs, the deceased are transformed into stars in the heavens (ngā mate kua whetūrangitia).
- Hiwa-i-te-rangi – This the other cousin of the Matariki sisters and is similar to the Western “wishing star”. Hiwa-i-te-rangi help us remember our taha wairua (spiritual side) and focus on our dreams and aspirations for the new year.
- According to the Taranaki and South Island iwi, there is another star called Puanga. Although it is not part of the Matariki cluster, Taranaki and other iwi believe that Puanga is actually the first star to rise, prior to Matariki, around July 12, and therefore Puanga actually marks the start of the new year. Puanga is clearly visible over the mountains of the West Coast of Aotearoa and parts of the South Island.
Celebrate Matariki by Learning Te Reo – Livestream Classes with Dr. Rāpata Wiri
To celebrate Matariki, Reo Ora are excited the announce the launch of our new livestream classes, beginning July 14, 2021, and running for 12 consecutive weeks. During these livestream classes, Dr. Rāpata Wiri will cover all of the topics contained in our textbook and online course – Reo Ora (Ko Te Pū – Level One) and (Ko Te More – Level 2) of the Certificate in Te Reo, offered in collaboration with Learning Cloud. There are 329 words and 30 sentence patterns that will be taught during the livestream classes that will help you understand 70 per cent of everyday conversational Māori. At the moment, Reo Ora are offering a special deal of $99 (reduced from $399) for 12 weeks of livestream classes. Sign up now!