PIKI MAI TE KAUPAPA O MATARIKI TAURANGA MOANA 

Each year, the winter stars of Matariki signal the arrival of the Māori New Year. Traditionally, the rise of Matariki was a sign to ensure food crops had been harvested and the storehouses were well-stocked for the coming year. 

Nowadays, Matariki has become a time of revitalisation and resurgence of te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori. Matariki is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate our history and make plans for the future. 

In doing so, we acknowledge our traditions, language and culture, which together give us a sense of who we are.

Matariki is the Māori name for the star cluster also known as the Pleiades. While it comprises over 300 stars, only seven are typically seen. Towards the end of June this year, we can observe Matariki rise in the north-eastern horizon just before dawn. The first new moon following the rise of Matariki is called “Te Tahi o Pipiri” or the first day of Pipiri, Māori New Year’s Day.

Matariki is a time for remembering the dead and celebrating new life. Matariki was a season for manaakitanga (hospitality) that brought communities together. Visitors were showered with gifts of specially preserved food and other delicacies. Throughout Matariki, Māori learnt from each other, which ensured that traditions like arts, weaving, waiata, performances, wānanga and whakapapa were passed from one generation to the next.

Today Matariki is also about the revitalisation and resurgence of te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori traditions. Rituals of gathering to reflect upon the past year, sharing experiences, planning activities and acknowledging those who have passed during the year are important aspects of Matariki. In 1993, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Otepou revived the Matariki celebrations in Tauranga with an early morning trek up the Kopukairoa Mountain. This became an annual trek to celebrate the first sighting of Matariki in our moana with karakia (prayers) and waiata (songs), acknowledging the arrival of the New Year. During Matariki we celebrate who we are, consent to new beginnings, plan for the future, prepare for imminent trends and look for guidance to show us the way forward.

Māori astronomical understanding was embedded in pre-colonial Māori life, culture and belief. The sun, moon and stars were an essential part of practices affecting agriculture, fishing, architecture and exploration. Tohunga Māori (specialist men and women) with knowledge of the stars valued the importance of Matariki as an indicator of the seasons, a foreteller of the weather and a navigational beacon for Pacific Ocean travellers.

Did you know that the seven pou (figures) on The Strand in Tauranga were created by local carver James Tapiata to represent Matariki?

From left to right, when looking at the pou from The Strand:

The first figure, Kahui Matariki, is dressed in a dog skin cloak to reflect the status Matariki holds in the universe. He faces Mauao as a sign of respect to the mountain. It incorporates two other constellations: Tiheru (the Bailer), depicted by two full paua shells on the lower back and Tautoru (Orion), the three smaller shells in an arch on the shoulder. The mokomoko (lizard) sits at the back of the head and is symbolic of Maui's journey from Te Wao Tapu nui a Tane (the sacred garden of Tanenuiarangi) to Te Aoturoa (the state we are in now).

The second figure is Tupu a Nuku rising from the earth. The koru on top is enveloped by four manaia. The manaia are carved in styles from the South Island, East Coast, Taranaki and Northland. Collectively they represent Nga Hau e Wha (the four winds) and the four seasons.

The third figure, Tupu a Rangi, deals with the navigational aspects of Matariki. He holds a navigational instrument in his right hand and extends his left hand out to the horizon.

Waita, the fourth figure, tells of the travels undertaken by Māori with the hoe (paddle) upright in salute. There is also a modern day reference to the travels that we take in our own lives. This is shown by the unfilled ritorito pattern around the shoulders.

The fifth figure, Waiti, depicts the food-bringing aspect of Matariki. The hands hold kumara (sweet potato) from the garden, and pikopiko (fern fronds) from the forest. Fish are seen on the left leg and a kereru (pigeon) on the right. The ritorito pattern on the upper lip is filled, indicating that the potential is also filled in a physical sense.

The sixth figure is Waipuna a Rangi. The spiral design portrays the water that hails the arrival of Matariki and the life giving properties of water. The three manaia at the top represent the three iwi (tribes) of Tauranga Moana: Ngati Ranginui, Ngai Te Rangi and Ngati Pukenga.

Ururangi, the seventh figure, is carved in the Tainui style paying homage to the links Tauranga Māori have with Kingitanga. The twelve figures represent the Tekaumarua (the Council of Elders), and the main feature represents the Waikato River.

 

10 Jun
to
09 Jul
2021
Matariki Kohi Kāri
10 June to 09 July

Visit your local library and collect a set of Kohi Kāri. Search Tauranga Moana for the items on your cards and discover their stories. With a different set of cards at each library, can you collect them all?  Read more

11 Jun
to
04 Jul
2021
Moemoeā - An exhibition from a collective of artists from Te Tuhi Mareikura Trust
11 June to 04 July

Moemoeā - An exhibition from a collective of artists from Te Tuhi Mareikura Trust featuring Julie Paama-Pengelly, Linda Munn, Chontelle Hohaia, Areena Smith, Israel Randell, Jera Mae and Arpége Taratoa.  Read more

11 Jun
to
04 Jul
2021
He Atua – Contemporary Māori. Graphic Art Worksho
11 June to 04 July

Atua Māori. Māori gods are vital in the story of creation known to us as the separation of Rangi and Papa. An exhibition by Louis Mikaere  Read more

11 Jun
to
04 Jul
2021
Ngā Whetū o Matariki by Nixon Mohi
11 June to 04 July

Whakaniko - Enhancing life through my art work an exhibition by Nixon Mohi.  Read more


11 Jun
to
04 Jul
2021
Te iwa o Matariki - Michelle Estall
11 June to 04 July

Te iwa o Matariki/The nine of Matariki is an exhibition by Michelle Estall.  Read more

11 Jun
to
04 Jul
2021
Matariki – Ngā Whetū Katoa by Michelle Arnold
11 June to 04 July

Michelle Arnold is a self-taught mosaic artist from Te Puke.  Read more

11 Jun
to
09 Jul
2021
Brad Burch Collection-photography display
11 June to 09 July

He kitenga kanohi he hokinga mahara  Read more

15 Jun
to
01 Jul
2021
Iti Pounamu with Aroha
15 June to 01 July

Join us as we celebrate Matariki with a series of Iti Pounamu sessions with special guest Aroha.   Read more


15Jun
2021
Brush Lettering Whakataukī Workshop
15 June

Bring a whakataukī with you. You will learn the basics of calligraphy to write your whakataukī .   Read more

15Jun
2021
Kōrero Mai – Mātauranga Matariki
15 June

Come along and hear the stories, learn the history, and speak the names of ngā whetā o Matariki, the stars of Matariki, through our Mātauranga Matariki Te Reo Māori introductory pronunciation.  Read more

17 Jun
to
08 Jul
2021
Tū Taua Tauranga Moana
17 June to 08 July

Have you ever thought about learning the skills of how to use traditional Māori weapons? Come, learn, and experience a unique form of martial art indigenous to Aotearoa.  Read more

17 Jun
to
08 Jul
2021
Matariki Cinematic Showcase
17 June to 08 July

Celebrating our local Māori film makers by showcasing their films.  Read more


19Jun
2021
Muka Pito Ties Workshop
19 June

Learn how to harvest flax correctly , extract muka and take home their pito ties.   Read more

19 Jun
to
20 Jun
2021
Raw Form Hip Hop Workshops
19 June to 20 June

Youth 10-24 looking to engage in a creative outlet/form of personal expression through Hip Hop culture.  Read more

19Jun
2021
Puppets with Pani
19 June

Come along and make your own puppets to create your own stories, or recreate a treasured Māori story.   Read more

21Jun
2021
Matariki, Mātauranga Māori and Modern Science with special guest presenter
21 June

Matariki, Mātauranga Māori and Modern Science, Thomas (Tame) Malcom – this award winning environmental scientist combines indigenous practices and western science for the protection of native species and bush.  Read more


23 Jun
to
24 Jun
2021
Ngā Whetū o Matariki – Digital Canvas
23 June to 24 June

Come and hear the story of the stars of Matariki, learn how to find them in the night sky and create a piece of techie art to take home.   Read more

26Jun
2021
Kōauau Workshops
26 June

Learn how to make koauau from bamboo.  Read more

26Jun
2021
Matariki Family Fun Day at Tauranga Art Gallery
26 June

Bring the whanau to enjoy creation stations, story telling and an art hunt. Inspired by Matariki: Te Tau Hou Māori - the beginning of the Māori new year.   Read more

27Jun
2021
Matariki Village Market
27 June

Join us on the 27th June for our inaugural Matariki Village Market. 10am-2pm   Read more


03Jul
2021
Balms with Aotearoa Rongoā Workshop
03 July

Introduction into making your own balms.  Read more

04Jul
2021
Matariki Kite Day
04 July

Come with your whanau and friends to enjoy a great afternoon of kite flying along with live kite performances, food stalls and more.   Read more

05Jul
2021
Depicting Decolonisation in Creative Spaces
05 July

A kōrero about can we decolonise an art institution and extend that to other creative spaces.   Read more

08 Jul
to
09 Jul
2021
Matariki Cultural Connections
08 July to 09 July

Cultural Connections is a council staff training package delivered by the Takawaenga Māori Unit. Join us over two days to learn about our city and our region's history, local iwi and hapu and cultural richness of the land.  Read more


08 Jul
to
09 Jul
2021
Matariki Cultural Connections
08 July to 09 July

Cultural Connections is a council staff training package delivered by the Takawaenga Māori Unit. Join us over two days to learn about our city and our region's history, local iwi and hapu and cultural richness of the land.  Read more

10Jul
2021
Te Iwa o Matariki – A panel discussion chaired by Arpége Taratoa
10 July

Organised by Arpége Taratoa, each participant will reflect on Te Iwa o Matariki (the nine stars of Matariki), and discuss personal connections with the constellation and its impact on their thinking.  Read more