Matariki - Ngā kai a Matariki...

10th April 2024

.....nāna i ao ake nei'
'Food that is scooped up by Matariki'

So tell us, what is Matariki?

Matariki is a cluster of stars that heralds the Maori new year. It rises in the east before the sun during winter, around June-July.

Depending on which iwi you ask, there are 7 to 9 stars in the cluster:
Matariki - Well-being

Pohutukawa - Connects us to loved ones passed on

Tupuānuku - Indicates the bounty of foods that grow in the earth

Tupuarangi - Indicates the bounty of elevated foods

Waitī - Associated with all fresh water bodies and all food sources that are sustained by those waters

Waitā - Associated with the ocean and all life within this domain.

Waipuna-a-rangi - Associated with rain

Ururangi - Associated with wind

Hiwa-i-te-rangi - Our dreams and aspirations are connected to this star


 Updated Matariki stars


How is Matariki traditionally celebrated and what are the major aspects of Matariki?

Matariki is celebrated in gatherings. Gatherings can include watching the rising of Matariki, hautapu and hakari.

Follow Living by the Stars on social media.

What are some traditional foods that are particularly tied to the celebration of Matariki?

Foods that are hunted, gathered, harvested in connection to the 4 stars, Tupuānuku; kumara, Tupuārangi; birds, Waitī; Eel & Waitā; seafood. Each item of food is an offering to the stars in the hautapu ceremony.

How does Matariki guide food in New Zealand?

Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Waitī & Waitā are associated with the primary foods in a traditional Maori diet, and the sources from which they derive. They serve as a good reminder of our responsibility to the environment that gives us sustenance.

How can we balance traditional Matariki practices with contemporary lifestyles?

Matariki is a time to come together to reflect on the past year, be present and share our aspirations for the future. It can be as simple as coming together with your family, friends or community to share kai and quality time together at this time of the year.

What role does Matariki play in the health and nutrition of people?

Matariki is a good reminder of the connection of our health and well-being to the environment. Our nutrition and overall well-being depends on the health and well-being of our food source; the environment.

Are there specific foods that are recommended or avoided during Matariki?

Ideally we would eat seasonal foods. This is a sustainable way of living. It ensures that we are caring for the environment and the foods sourced from the different domains in the environment can replenish and ensure food for the future.

How does Matariki influence the preparation and preservation of food?

Matariki, particularly Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Waitī & Waitā indicate the availablity for food in the coming year. This guides us in the way that we grow, harvest, preserve and store our foods to keep us fed for the year.

What resources would you recommend for someone interested in learning more about Matariki?

In Tauranga Moana - Follow Te Puna i Rangiriri on Facebook. Te Puna i Rangiriri Trust, guided by Master Navigator, Jack Thatcher, run workshops every Matariki at the base of Mauao and public Matariki events in Tauranga throughout the lunar month of Pipiri.

How can people get involved in or support the preservation and practice of Matariki?

Learn as a whānau about Matariki and get involved with your tamariki and mokopuna's learning to ensure that the knowledge of Matariki lives on through the next generation.


Blog by Mere Horopapera, 2024
Main image: Matariki (the Pleiades) star cluster

Matariki Stars image: Te Arawhiti