Category: Culture
Matariki in New Zealand in 2023
Image: The Pleiades (Seven Sisters). by Dylan O'Donnell , from Public Domain

About Matariki

How long until Matariki?
Matariki .
Dates of Matariki
2024 New Zealand Friday, June 28thMatariki
2023 New Zealand Friday, July 14thMatariki
2022 New Zealand Friday, June 24thMatariki
2021 New Zealand Friday, July 2ndMatariki
2020 New Zealand Monday, July 13thMatariki
Matariki is named after the bright stars of the Pleiades star cluster, which rises in the winter night sky each year.

Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades star cluster. It rises during Pipiri (June/July) and marks the beginning of the Māori new year. The word is an abbreviation of Ngā Mata o te Ariki (Eyes of God) in reference to Tāwhirimātea, god of the wind and weather. In the story of creation, Tāne Mahuta (god of the forest) separated his parents Ranginui and Papatūānuku, and his brother Tāwhirimātea got upset and tore out his eyes, crushed them into pieces and thew them into the sky.

Traditionally, Maori iwi, or communities, would gather together at night during a time of the constellation's prominence, making use of the period between harvests to celebrate and make offerings for a bountiful future.

When Matariki disappeared in April/May, it was time to preserve crops for the winter season. When it re-appeared in June/July its appearance was said to predict the success of the season ahead; clear bright stars are a good omen and hazy stars predict a cold, harsh winter. The brightness of each individual star predicts the fortunes of a specific thing that star represents, such as the wind or food that grows in trees.

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