Mānawatia a Matariki: Ways to celebrate the Māori New Year

Source: 1News

Matariki is traditionally a time to reflect and reset, gather together, honour those who have died, celebrate the present and plan for the future.

People roasting marshmallows during Matariki in 2018

When the star cluster rises in the morning sky in mid-winter it marks the Māori New Year, or Te Mātahi o te Tau.

This year will be the first time Aotearoa can celebrate it as an official public holiday.

Dr Rangi Mātāmua, who is a leading expert on Matariki and Māori astronomy, says it's a holiday for everyone.

"We are a diverse nation that needs to celebrate who we are. That looks like festivities, food, coming together."

Here are some of the ways you can commemorate Matariki this year:

  • Rise early in the morning to view Matariki before sunrise - according to Mātāmua this will be possible from June 21 in 2022, for around eight days, depending on the weather.
  • Take time to remember loved ones who are no longer around - share stories and memories about them.
  • Reflect on the year that has passed and plan for the next - Mātāmua says it's a good time to look forward and plan for the future.
  • Spend time with family and friends by cooking a hākari/feast on Matariki - Matariki is a time to come together to share food and relax.
  • Write down your hopes and aspirations for the year ahead.

Mātāmua says it's traditionally a time to slow down and get together with whānau.

"Someone asked me, if they should buy presents for Matariki. My response is no, be present. Spend quality, dedicated time with your loved ones.

"I hope families spend some down time with each other, watch movies, share meals, check out some of the wonderful Matariki celebrations that are happening around the country.

"It's a time to check in on each other, ask your family members and friends how they are."

Some iwi also celebrate the rising of Puanga rather than Matariki, as the New Year.

It's still celebrated in June or July, but depending on where they are in the country, some iwi struggle to see Matariki clearly from their location.

Puanga, or Rigel, is the brightest star in the Orion constellation.

Iwi of Whanganui, Taranaki, parts of the Far North, and parts of the South Island recognise Puanga.