Matariki 2017 – the Maori New Year

Matariki (Pleiades star cluster)
Matariki (Pleiades star cluster)

Matariki signifies the Maori New Year and is the Maori name for a small cluster of stars known as the Pleiades that become visible during the winter months. The Maori New Year is a significant time in the calendar, a time for connecting with and giving thanks to the land, sea and sky and is celebrated by different tribes at different times each year depending on the moon cycle and can fall any time from late May to late June. This year, Matariki celebrations will commence on or around the 25 June although this date can also differ depending on which Maori tribe you belong to.

Matariki 2017 Events

Each year, events take place all across New Zealand to celebrate Matariki and the Maori New Year. It is a very special time for many Maori but it is also a chance for those visiting New Zealand to get a better understanding of the Maori culture. With so many international visitors expected in New Zealand throughout June for the British and Irish Lions tour, it is expected that there will be bigger numbers than usual attending the events this year. Here is a run-down of some of the biggest events taking place throughout New Zealand to celebrate Matariki.

Auckland

Auckland is a great place to discover more about Matariki and the Auckland Council run a series of events in the lead up to the 25 June. These include:

  • Matariki Dawn Karakia – Tawharanui Regional Park – Saturday 10 June
  • Manu Aute Kite Day – Orakei – Sunday 11 June
  • Matariki on the Move

Glen Innes – Monday 12 June

Otara – Saturday 17 June

Papakura – Thursday 22 June

  • Te Korakora on Federal – CBD – Thursday 22 June
  • Te Taumata Kapa Haka – CBD – Saturday 1 July

There are heaps of other events going on in Auckland throughout June to celebrate Matariki and Auckland Libraries are running special sessions throughout the month.

To find out more about the Matariki events in Auckland, visit the website.

Rotorua

As you would imagine, with such a large Maori community based in Rotorua, there is also a wide number of celebrations taking place in and around the city throughout June. From parades to crafts, talks to talent quests there is a lot to learn and love about Matariki. The city put on a wide range of free events which started at the beginning of June and run all the way through the month.

You can find out more information on the Rotorua Lakes Council website.

Wellington

Wellington is another place that does a lot to celebrate Matariki. From the firework display in the city on Saturday 24 June to the Matariki Festival that runs at Te Papa museum from the 16-25 June, there is a lot to celebrate in Wellington. The exhibit at Te Papa provides a fascinating insight into Matariki and New Zealand’s rich history and is a must for anyone visiting the capital in June. The weekend of the 24-25 June is the best time to be in Wellington to celebrate Matariki so if you are planning a trip, that’s a great time to pay a visit.

You can find out more about Wellington’s Matariki celebrations here.

Dunedin

In Dunedin, the Puaka Matariki Festival will run from 17-23 June and include a wide range of events including a navigation by the stars event, storytelling night and free art workshops where people are encouraged to come along and have a go.

Find out more here.

Finding Matariki

Matariki is a wonderful time to celebrate our wonderful heritage here in New Zealand and to welcome in the Maori New Year. June is a great month for stargazers across the country with a lot of clean and cold nights providing a great opportunity to spot the Matariki (the Pleiades). If you want to find out how you can spot Matariki, check out this great beginner’s guide:

http://blog.teara.govt.nz/2008/06/05/a-beginner%E2%80%99s-guide-to-finding-matariki/

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