Matariki 2018 – 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.

Each year, events take place all across New Zealand to celebrate Matariki and this year, the Picton Yacht Club Hotel is supporting the Matariki Festival Picton by offering a 20% discount on the room rate on the evening of the Festival’s Kai Feast on the 23rd June!

But before we get into the detail of that we thought we’d share a few details about Matariki itself!

What is Matariki?

As previously mentioned, Matariki signifies the Maori New Year and is the Maori name for the Pleiades cluster of stars that become visible during our 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 30 June although this date can also differ depending on which Maori tribe you belong to.

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.

Matariki 2018 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 more and more international visitors making their way here every year, the numbers getting involved and attending the events rises every year.

Here is a run-down of some of the biggest events taking place throughout New Zealand to celebrate Matariki starting with the event supported by the Picton Yacht Club!

Picton

Picton is a lovely part of the country and home to the Marlborough Sounds, the world-famous collection of ancient sunken river valleys filled with the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

This year is the first time this event will take place in Picton and anticipation is high for the inaugural event!

For five weeks, the community will be getting into the spirit of Matariki with two big events planned and smaller events in between. The first big event is the mid-winter Kai feast on Saturday 23rd June where you can stay at the Picton Yacht Club for a 20% discount on the room rate. The second big event will be at Picton Foreshore on Saturday 14th July where clubs will have charity food stalls, and visitors will be able to witness a light extravaganza!

Follow the Matariki Festival Facebook page for more details!

Auckland

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

  • Matariki Dawn Karakia – Arataki Visitor Park, Titirangi – Saturday 30 June
  • Te Mata o Rehua Market – Manukau Civic Building – Saturday 30 June
  • Matariki Gourmet Hāngi: The Tasting Shed with Chef Ganesh – Kumeu – Sunday 1 July
  • Matariki Short Films – Lopdell Precinct, Titirangi – Wednesday 4 July
  • Manu Aute Kite Day – Pukewiwi / Winstone Park – Sunday 8 July

There are heaps of other events going on in Auckland and to find out more 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 and July. From parades to crafts, talks to talent quests there is a lot to learn and love about Matariki. The city will also put on a wide range of free events.

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 7 July to the Matariki Festival that runs at Te Papa museum from the 15-24 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.

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

Dunedin

In Dunedin, the Puaka Matariki Festival will run from 6-22 July 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.

Attend Matariki Festival Picton’s Kai Feast and enjoy a 20% discount for the night!

As mentioned at the top of the piece, the Picton Yacht Club Hotel is supporting Matariki Festival Picton by offering a 20% discount on the room rate (subject to availability) on the evening of the Festival’s Kai Feast on the 23rd June!

Simply go to the Picton Yacht Club page and select the ‘Save 20%’ room rate offered on the date when choosing your room!

It’s going to be a wonderful cultural event to experience with the whole community taking part. Get involved for what is sure to be a truly memorable occasion.

 

Sign up to our newsletter