Hero photograph
Photo by Rachael Hamilton


Emma Gauntlett —

The rising of the Matariki or Pleiades star cluster around late May or early June signals the beginning of the Māori New Year. This year New Zealand begins celebrating Matariki with a public holiday which is super exciting!

Matariki traditionally was a time to remember and honour those who had died during the last year. It wasn’t all sad though, because the harvests of vegetables, fish and birds had all been safely stored away for winter, it was time to celebrate!

Māori Iwi around New Zealand would celebrate Matariki each in their own style.
Sometimes it was simply a meal prepared in a hangi (an underground roast) but it also could involve singing, dancing, flying kites, and story-telling.

This is the coldest time of the year and Pipiri (June) means ‘to draw close’. To celebrate Matariki with your whānau, friends and community you could come together to share kai, reflect on the year that has passed and what you are grateful for, have fun with games and activities like kite making and lantern making, and share what you are looking forward to for the year ahead.

Stanley Bay will be celebrating Matariki with lots of classroom activities and learning. We will also be hosting a lantern making evening on Tuesday the 21st of June with the support of Restoring Takurunga Hauraki from 4.30-6.00pm. 

You are welcome to come along with your whānau, bring a plate of kai to share and make a lantern and sing some waiata. Our Year 3 students have been learning how to make these this week so they can be the experts on the night. Your whānau could then join the evening lantern walk up Takurunga on the 25th of June (Matariki weekend).