Maori translationEnglish translation

Te Taurawhiri I Te Reo Māori Māori Language Commission
Matariki

Kōrero Whakataki

The Matariki formation

During Matariki, we celebrate our unique place in the world. We give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth, Papatūānuku.

Throughout Matariki, we learn about those who came before us. Our history, our family, our bones.

Matariki signals growth. It's a time of change. It's 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.

Matariki is our Aotearoa Pacific New Year.

In 2001, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori began to reclaim Matariki, or Aotearoa Pacific New Year, as an important focus for Māori language regeneration in partnership with Te Papa Tongarewa and the Ministry of Education. 

This year, the commission is spearheading a campaign to elevate Matariki into an iconic national event as part of a nationwide Māori language information programme. "Kōrero Māori", and intends to develop relationships and partnerships in order to co-ordinate and share activities with other stakeholders while complementing existing events. 

In our view, Matariki is much more than a festival-type event that welcomes in the New Year - we believe it is a way of thinking and planning leading up to the sighting of the stars followed by the next new moon. 

The aim of this website is to provide you with information about Matariki, and how to identify and celebrate it in contemporary Aotearoa. There is also a calendar of events that tells you what others are planning and gives you some ideas for your own celebrations. 

The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May every year. The new moon can be seen for the first time on these dates.

2005 Pipiri 08 June 

2006 Pipiri 27 June

2007 Pipiri 16 June 

2008 Pipiri 05 June

2009 Pipiri 24 June 

2010 Pipiri 14 June 

2011 Pipiri 04 June 

2012 Pipiri 21 June

2013 Pipiri 10 June

2014 Pipiri 28 June 

2015 Pipiri 18 June 

2016 Pipiri 06 June 

2017 Pipiri 25 June 

2018 Pipiri 15 June 

2019 Pipiri 05 June 

2020 Pipiri 22 June

Matariki, the star cluster that heralds the start of the Aotearoa Pacific New Year, is important to Māori and Pacific people and other cultures around the world. Matariki is visible to the naked eye in the pre-dawn sky after the full moon from mid to late June each year.

There are many stories about its significance as a navigational star and also as a portent on whether the coming harvests will be plentiful. If the stars in the cluster are clear and bright, it is thought that the year will be warm and productive. If they appear hazy and shimmering, cold winter is in store for us, and all activities during the period of Matariki must take this into account.

Some say that Matariki is the mother surrounded by her six daughters, other stories suggest that Matariki is a male star. These are the Māori names that make up the other six prominent stars of the Matariki cluster, Tupu-a-Nuku, Tupu-a-Rangi, Waitī, Waitā, Waipunarangi and Ururangi. 

Matariki is celebrated at different times by different tribes. For some, feasts 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 new moon.

Astronomers generally refer to Matariki as Pleaides. The cluster is a group of many hundreds of stars about 400 light years from Earth and has been recognised since ancient times. The brightest stars are quite easy to see with the unaided eye in Greek legend bear the names of Seven Sisters, the daughters of Atlas and Pleone, Alcyone, Merope, Asterops, Maia, Taygeta, Calaeno and Electra. 

For some tribes Puanga or Rigel is the star that signifies the beginning of the Māori New Year.

ki runga