Ngā Mata o te Ariki, more commonly known as Matariki, is the Māori name for the star cluster Pleiades which is visible at a specific time of the year, usually June/July.
Anika Moa's Matariki feast
We’ve been busy with our wāhine toa Anika Moa cooking up a delicious Matariki feast for you to whip up with your whānau!
Matariki is traditionally a time to get together to share kai harvested from past seasons. Four of the stars in the Matariki constellation are connected to food; Tupuānuku – this star is related to food grown in the ground, Tupuārangi – food which comes from the sky and trees, Waitī – from rivers, streams and lakes, and Waitā – from the sea.
The New World Matariki Invention Test
What is Matariki?
The story of Matariki
The full name of Matariki is Ngā Mata o Ariki (Eyes of God) in reference to Tāwhirimatea and the creation of the world. Tāwhirimatea (the god of storms and wind) fought against his brother Tāne Mahuta (God of the forest) who was trying to seperate their parents Rangi and Papa (sky father and earth mother) at the beginning of time. Rangi and Papa were locked in a tight embrace meaning there was no light or life on earth. Tāne Mahuta won the battle to separate their parents and Tāwhirimatea in his pain and anger upon losing, crushed his eyes and flung them up to the galaxy, creating the star cluster Matariki. Now Tāwhitimatea the blind, unseeing god explores the land going in all directions (the wind).
What is the importance of Matariki in Māori culture
It’s a time to celebrate new life, to remember those who’ve passed, spend time with whānau and friends, and to plan for the future. Particularly of importance to our tūpuna (ancestors), was that they would look to Matariki for guidance with their harvesting as each star has a certain significance over our wellbeing and environment.
The 9 stars and their significance
The mother of eight stars, Matariki is the symbol of reflection, hope and our connection to our environment
Pōhutukawa – connects us to our ancestors and to those who have passed on.
Tupuānuku is connected to food that grows in the ground.
Tupuārangi is connected to food that comes from above, the skies and the trees.
Waitī is tied to food that is sourced from our freshwater bodies like lakes.
Waitā is tied to food that is found in the ocean – like seafood commonly known as kai moana.
Waipun-ā-rangi is connected to the rain that helps crops to flourish.
Ururangi means ‘winds of the sky’. This star determines the winds for the coming year.
Hiwaiterangi is the youngest of Matariki’s tamariki (children). She’s a wishing star and connects us to our hopes and aspirations for the year ahead