Why Matariki isn't a marker for the Māori New Year in some areas

Source: 1News

When the Matariki star cluster rises in midwinter, it’s a marker of the Māori New Year for many iwi across Aotearoa, but not for all.

Rereata Makiha, maramataka expert and renowned astrologer, says in some areas of the country, it’s not actually possible to see Matariki so other stars are used as signifiers instead.

He says where he’s from, the Hokianga in Northland, it isn't possible to see the star cluster.

“We are on the West Coast and on the West Coast it’s really difficult to see Matariki. So we grew up not knowing a lot about Matariki.

“So our stars that mark our New Year in the west, there are two of them. One of them is Rehua (Antares) setting in the west at the same time as Puanga (Rigel) rising at about 110 degrees in the east.”

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He says Puanga is used as the marker for the Māori New Year in the Hokianga for most, and it’s a time to get ready for the year ahead.

“Because our old people always said, don’t take any rubbish into the new year. Get rid of it, and then start afresh.”

Iwi of Whanganui, Taranaki and parts of the South Island also recognise Puanga as the marker of the new year.

Matariki 2022: Celebrations around Aotearoa

Makiha says it’s great that the significance of Puanga, and Matariki, is now becoming public knowledge.

“I think the exciting thing about it all is that it’s now come out into the public and that people are catching on to the ideas that our ancestors have carried and passed on to us for generations and generations.”