Matariki New Zealand

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Matariki (Pleiades)

***** Location: New Zealand
***** Season: Winter
***** Category: Observance


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Known in other cultures by names including the Pleiades and the Seven Sisters, the rise of the star cluster Matariki heralds the beginning of the Aotearoa Pacific New Year according to the lunar calendar.

Matariki may be translated as mata riki – tiny eyes, or Mata Ariki – eyes of God.
The eyes are thought to watch over the land and its people. Matariki (Pleiades) is a small but distinctive star cluster that drops below the horizon in April and reappears in June.

Matariki tribal celebrations are held at different times by different tribes. For some, feasts (hangi) are held when it is first seen. For others, it is the full moon after it rises that is celebrated and for others, celebrations are centred on the dawn of the next new moon. Each winter the stars of Matariki and Puanga signal the end of one year and the beginning of the next. Matariki is visible to the naked eye on a clear winter evening after the full moon from early to late June each year.

Matariki signals growth. It’s a time of change, a time to prepare and a time of action. During Matariki we acknowledge what we have and what we have to give.
Matariki celebrates the diversity of life. It’s a celebration of culture, language, spirit and people.

The physical appearance of the stars in the sky was used by tohunga (priest or expert) as a forecast of the year ahead
- clear and bright signalled warm and productive, whereas hazy or shimmering meant a cold winter was in store and ground for crops must be prepared accordingly.

The Japanese know the constellation as subaru – meaning ‘united’ or ‘getting together’.
The carmaker also uses the cluster as the logo for its Subaru vehicles.
source : christchurchcitylibraries.com


Months of the Matariki Calendar

Traditionally for Māori the new year began in June, and divisions of the year were based on lunar months. With the arrival of European settlers, the Gregorian calendar system based on the solar year came to prevail. However, Māori were concerned about the loss of their own calendar. So they introduced a system where each month of the Gregorian calendar was given an ancient name based on the activities appropriate for that month, for example, cultivation, setting seed beds, planting, weeding, harvesting, gathering, and storage. This enabled the seasonal rotation preserved by the ancient names to be retained.

Matariki of no abode
During the nights of Tangaroa (the twenty-third to twenth-sixth nights of the Māori calendar) Matariki is seen to take a rest, albeit a brief one, in a temporary home before recommencing her journeys. This period marks the commencement of the Māori New Year.

Read the details HERE
source : www.tepapa.govt.nz


Haangi, Hangi
is an ancient New Zealand Māori method of cooking food using super heated rocks buried in the ground in a pit oven. Modernised hangi methods are still used today and are often saved for special occasions due to the large amount of time and preparatory work involved.
Prior to colonisation and the introduction of metals and wire, food was laid out on clean sticks, bark, large leaves and other vegetation to minimise direct contact with the super hot rocks and reduce burning. Carved bowls and flat rocks were also used for this purpose. Leaves, sticks and vegetation were used to cover the food and to prevent crushing from the weight of the earth on top.
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Worldwide use


kigo for all winter

kan subaru 寒昴 (かんすばる/ 寒スバル)
pleiades in the cold season

fuyu subaru 冬昴(ふゆすばる)pleiades in winter

mutsuraboshi 六連星(むつらぼし) "six stars"
Since with the naked eye we can only see six of the stars, hence this name.

Things found on the way


in the hangi's heat-haze
our matariki moon

Kathy Earsman (Australia)
WKD ... Facebook


matariki -
seven sisters shimmer
on my monitor

Gabi Greve, May 2009

Related words

Geminid and Leonid Meteor Shower



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