Te Iwa o Matariki

The Nine Stars of Matariki


What is Matariki?

Matariki is the Māori name for a cluster of stars which is visible in our night sky at a specific time of the year. In June/July, Matariki will re-appear in the dawn sky – signalling the start of the Māori New Year.

It is a time to celebrate new life, to remember those who’ve passed and to plan for the future. And it’s a time to spend with whānau and friends – to enjoy kai (food), waiata (song), tākaro (games) and haka.

Our tūpuna (ancestors) would look to Matariki for help with their harvesting. When Matariki disappeared in April/May, it was time to preserve crops for the winter season. When it re-appeared in June/July, tūpuna would read the stars to predict the upcoming season – clear and bright stars promised a warm and abundant winter while hazy stars warned of a bleak winter.

Because Māori follow the Māori lunar calendar, not the European calendar, the dates for Matariki change every year.


How many stars does Matariki have?

Matariki has nine visible stars, according to leading Māori astronomer, Dr Rangi Matamua, who’s been researching Matariki for over 30 years. As part of his research, Dr Matamua found that some of his own tūpuna were able to see nine stars.

The nine visible stars include: Matariki, Tupuārangi, Waipuna-ā-Rangi, Waitī, Tupuānuku, Ururangi, Waitā, Pōhutukawa and Hiwa-i-te-Rangi.

Each star holds a certain significance over our wellbeing and environment, as seen from the Māori view of the world.


The nine Matariki stars


Matariki

Matariki

Matariki tāpuapua. Matariki nāna i ao ake te kai ki runga. Matariki hunga nui. Matariki ahunga nui. Te ope o te rua Matariki. Ka rewa a Matariki, ka maoka te hinu. Ka rewa a Matariki ka rere te kanakana.

Matariki is the star that signifies reflection, hope, our connection to the environment and the gathering of people. Matariki is also connected to the health and wellbeing of people.


Pōhutukawa

Pōhutukawa

Tērā a Pōhutukawa ka mōiri ki runga he pae whakamahara mō aku tau kahurangi kua ngaro.

Pīratarata mai rā koutou hei whetū i te pō, kōrekoreko mai rā hoki koutou i te rokiroki o ngā mahara mō ake tonu atu e.

Pōhutukawa is the star connected to those that have passed on.


Waitī

Waitī

Waitī ki runga. Waitī ki raro, e rere nei ō wai hei manapou mō te whenua, hei oranga mō te tangata, hei kete kai mā te iwi. Kōriporipo tonu nei te ia o te awa, māreparepa ana ngā roto, kōrengarenga te puna a Tāne-te-waiora, he koira!

Waitī is connected with all fresh water bodies and the food sources that are sustained by those waters.


Waitā

Waitā

Tērā te marae nui a Kiwa te kānapanapa nei i raro i a koe Waitā. Hīia mai rā ki runga te tini a Ikatere, rukuhia ki tai, kohia ki tātahi hei kai mā te tini o uta. Ka hiki mata te tapuwae a Tangaroa! Koia au nui, koia au roa, koia moana tuarangaranga koia moana i āio.

Waitā is associated with the ocean, and food sources within it.


Waipuna-ā-Rangi

Waipuna-ā-Rangi

Haramai te kōnehunehu! Haramai te hāuaua, Haramai te tarahi! Haramai te patapataiāwha!

Takataka mai i te kōmanawa o te hei tapu, whāinumia e koe e Waipuna-ā-Rangi ka tupu te whenua, ka tupu te tangata.

Waipuna-ā-Rangi is connected with the rain.


Tupuānuku

Tupuānuku

Tupuānuku ka pihi nuku, ka pihi rangi, ka makuru haere ake nei. Kia haumako roa hoki te puke ki a Rongo, i āhua mai i tawhiti. Ngā hua o Nukutū ka aohia nuitia, arā rā ngakingaki, ara rā tinaku. Hauhaketia rā te tau, he tau humi e.

Tupuānuku is the star connected with everything that grows within the soil to be harvested or gathered for food.


Tupuārangi

Tupuārangi

Ngaruru te waokū, matomato te waokū, māpuapua te puhikaioreore e tau ai ngā tamariki a Tāne, tērā koia te pua nui. Tupuārangi māu e mōmona ngā manu, ka mōmona ngā hua, ka puta ka ora!

Tupuārangi is connected with everything that grows up in the trees: fruits, berries and birds.


Ururangi

Ururangi

E Ururangi whakamāriretia te atua matakerepō koi pūkerikeri mai koi haurokuroku mai, koi huripari mai. Engari kē kia hau kōanga, kia kōtengitengi kia purea ai au, kia whakahauoratia ai au.

Ururangi is the star connected with the winds.


Hiwaiterangi

Hiwa-i-te-Rangi

Hiwa nui, Hiwa roa, Hiwa pūkenga, Hiwa wānanga! Hiwaiterangi tēnei e korou o te manawa koronga, tēnei te āwhero o te manako nui. Horahia nuitia mai ngā hua tuawhiti mātinitini o te tau. Purutia e au kia mau te angitū, tāwhia te mooho kia ita! Ka puta ki te whai ao, ki te ao mārama.

Hiwaiterangi is the star connected with granting our wishes, and realising our aspirations for the coming year.


When to observe Matariki

The optimum time to observe the rising of Matariki is in the phase of the moon known as Tangaroa, the moon of plenty. The Tangaroa moon phase occurs in the three or four days leading to a new moon and will fall on different dates each year.


Matariki dates

Year Setting Rise Period
2020 15 May 13-16 July 13-20 July
2021 2 June 2-5 July 2-10 July
2022 23 May 21-24 June 21-29 June
2023 13 May 10-13 July 11-17 July
2024 31 May 29 June-2 July 29 June-6 July
2025 21 May 19-22 June 19-25 June
2026 8 June 8-11 July 8-14 July
2027 29 May 27-30 June 27 June-4 July
2028 16 May 15-18 July 15-21 July

Matariki dates sourced from ‘Matariki - The Star of the Year’ by Dr Rangi Matamua.


Taringa podcast Matariki episode

Matariki expert and leading maori astronomy expert Professor Dr Rangi Matamua and leading Hawaiian expert Assistant Professor C.M Kaliko Baker joined Snowy and Paraone to discuss Matariki.

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