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Matariki - A time to reflect


Matariki - Learn more about the significance of the winter star cluster Matariki and the reflection on those who have passed on and what we can learn from the past to realise our aspirations for the coming year.

It's June 2022 and here in N.Z. we look forward to celebrating the first public holiday of Matariki this weekend. I have gone investigating to learn more about both Matariki, and take a closer look at New Zealand Native Flowers to share with you.

But first off - What is Matariki?

As one of the closest star clusters to earth (well if you can call 440 light years close!) Matariki is recognised around the globe, where it carries other names you may have heard before - Pleiades is its ancient Greek name, in English its called the Seven Sisters, and this cluster is also known as Subaru in Japan.

The reappearance of the cluster of 9 stars in June, traditionally signals to Māori the start of the new year with renewal and celebration. Historically, Matariki is the navigation star used by ancient travellers to navigate from island homes in the moana (water) to reach Aotearoa, so they are culturally very important.

Matariki logo 2022

Matariki - A time for Reflection

Traditionally Māori do not focus on the stars above, but they look to the whenua (land) below. It's winter, the cold, dark time of the year – the hard work of harvest is now finished, and it is a time to huddle together with your whānau (family) in the long nights to cook together and enjoy kai, share kōrero (talking and discussions), family histories and whakapapa (genealogy), share waiata (songs), and to come together to look forward to the coming year.

Matariki symbolises the mother and her children, with each star named and holding special meaning and significance. Mata Riki translates as the Eyes of God.

names of stars in the matariki cluster
  • Matariki - The Mother - 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.
  • Waitī is associated with all fresh water bodies and the food sources that are sustained by those waters.
  • Waitā is associated with the ocean, and food sources within it.
  • Waipuna-ā-rangi is associated with the rain.
  • Tupuānuku is the star associated with everything that grows within the soil to be harvested or gathered for food.
  • Tupuārangi is associated with everything that grows up in the trees: flowers, fruits, berries, and birds.
  • Ururangi is the star associated with the winds.
  • Pōhutukawa is the star associated with those that have passed on.
  • Hiwa-i-te-rangi is the star associated with granting our wishes, and realising our aspirations for the coming year.

Matariki - A time for Reflection - reflecting on what we can learn from the past and those who have passed on in order to realise our aspirations for the coming year.

It's always powerful to connect with the memories, stories and lore of our anscestors, no matter where you come from, and my belief is Matariki will become more relevant and special each year as we all take a moment to reflect and grow as a Nation and celebrate our uniqueness in the world.

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REFERENCES:
Te Papa - Matariki: The Māori New Year.
Stuff Article - Celebrating Matariki is a slow rebuild of something beautiful.

Jo-Ann Moss - Florist Best Blooms  |  21 June 2022, 12:22 AM

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