The dawning of Matariki 2020 - a catalyst for change


The beautiful star cluster known as Matariki appears in New Zealand skies in the maramataka month of Pipiri, signalling the beginning of the Māori New Year.

What a beautiful reminder that new beginnings constantly unfurl, and our heritage and whakapapa are to be treasured. To us, Matariki seems especially momentous this year as New Zealand - Aotearoa shrugs off her cloak of lockdown and breathes deep the chilly clean air of midwinter.

As Black Lives Matter and anti-racist movements globally stand proud, loud and grow vibrantly in the face of continuing atrocity and systematic racism - both in the USA and here in Aotearoa - we have a burning hope for truly meaningful, landmark changes around the world.

In light of these global challenges and a powerful focus on equality, Matariki marks a season for hope, action and change for a better, fairer world.

Matariki dates and events for 2020

Matariki will be welcomed at 7am on June 20th at with a karakia live-streamed via the Matariki Festival Facebook page so that friends and whānau can be part of this celebration, online.

The time to see Matariki rising this year is July 13-16, during the phase of the moon known as Tangaroa, the moon of plenty. 

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

Very close to winter solstice (on 22 June), Matariki marks the darkest, coldest time of the year and Pipiri means ‘to draw close’. Draw near to your loved ones, light the fire, share food in the warmth of your home.

Things you can do to celebrate Matariki

  • Invite whanau, friends and neighbours for a shared meal to enjoy the bounty of autumn harvests
  • Create a time or ritual to remember and be grateful for loved ones who have passed
  • Share your knowledge of your whakapapa with your children, by telling stories of your ancestors lives and looking through photos
  • Show your gratitude for the land and sea by planting a tree, collecting rubbish, or just by spending time in nature
  • Set new goals for the coming year - for yourself and together as a whanau, and take time to consider your place in the world, while you plan for the future...


Matariki and Maramataka resources

Te Papa Resources including a waiata, a video on how to find Matariki, and a beautiful Printable booklet (ideal for family,ECE or school use, English and Māori)

Matariki Festival website

Learning to live by Maramataka by Ayla Hoeta and printable dial.

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