Happy New Year! The rising of the star constellation Matariki was celebrated from July 6th – 12th this year, signalling the start of the Māori New Year.
Matariki, also known as the Pleiades, can be viewed to the north-east of the night sky for 11 months of the year. However, it sets beneath the horizon in late May to early June, remaining out of sight for around a month before it rises again to mark the new year during the lunar month of Pipiri in late June or early July.
Matariki is a time to rest, spend time with whānau, reflect on the past year and make wishes and predictions for the upcoming year. It is also a time to think of our loved ones who have passed away over the last year, as Māori believe that the spirits of the deceased rise to become stars in the sky when Matariki rises again after its month of absence.
In late June, Te Puna Wai o Waipapa held a Hui Matariki for whānau Māori, with a fantastic kai put on by Julie and her team at the Cafe. This included a talk on Matariki and a goal-setting session, where ākonga and whānau reflected on the previous year and set goals for the upcoming year. We had a great turnout of whānau and look forward to our next Hui Matariki in 2019. Rangi Matamua is the leading expert on Matariki; if you would like further information you can watch one of his talks by searching his name on YouTube.