Matariki is a star cluster that marks the beginning of the Māori new year. This star cluster rises within the winter period depending on the lunar calendar. For many years people thought Matariki was called the seven sisters and was known to have other names; however, Rangi Matamua has written a book on Matariki that shares the true narrative of Matariki.
This year Matariki is an official Aotearoa (New Zealand) public holiday which is very exciting. It’s exciting because it’s a public holiday based on mātauranga Māori, and it celebrates a Māori tradition once wiped out by colonisation. It’s significant in many ways because it’s unique to Aotearoa.
If you haven’t seen Matariki before in the sky and are unsure what to look for or you would like to know more information, read Rangi Matamua’s pukapuka ‘Matariki- The star of the year’.
Matariki, for me, is about a time to stop, reflect and reset. It’s a beautiful time when the new Māori year is beginning, and it’s also halfway through the Pākehā year. Therefore, for me, it fits in well to set new goals for the new year ahead and also a halfway marker to evaluate how the first part of the Pākehā year has gone.
In the time of Pipiri, it’s perfect to ‘gather in’ to ‘whakapiri’ draw nearer to those you love, to whānau and friends and or for me, to draw in close to my business and my goals.
I enjoy this time of the year because the weather is cold and gnarly, and it’s perfect to be inside, warm and being in the space of ‘reset’. It couldn’t be a better time to plan and strategise.
Previous years I’ve joined in on a few Matariki wānanga and ceremonies called a ‘Hautapu’, which involves karanga, karakia and kai. A Hautapu is releasing the steam from the cooked kai to feed the stars. At this time it is about reading the stars and seeing what they are saying for the year ahead and to also mihi to them too.
Last year a friend and I went to view the rising of Matariki in Hamilton. We woke up at around 5:30 am and went to one spot in Hillcrest right by The University of Waikato, where I knew we’d be able to see the horizon and the stars. Luckily that morning, it was clear, with no cloud in the sky, and we managed to see Matariki so clearly. I performed a karanga to the stars; we took a moment to think about those who had passed on and ended with a karakia. After our small ceremony, we then went to a cafe for a coffee.
For the past three years, I’ve also taken time out to go on a retreat close to Waikato, so I don’t have to travel far. I use this time in a retreat to do the following, mahi, goal setting, set tasks, rest and reset etc. It’s often a time for me to move away from my usual environment and into something new. It’s also an excellent opportunity to treat myself to lovely accommodation and food.
This year I’m heading to Taupō for three nights this year for my retreat and will spend that time doing some mahi and reflection.
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