Matariki is a celebration of the Māori New Year. It begins with the first new moon after the Matariki star cluster – or Pleiades – appears in the dawn sky. This year Matariki takes place on 14 June. Raglan has a number of events planned to celebrate this special time of year.

The story of Matariki
Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). Some say that when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother were separated by their offspring, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became angry, tearing out his eyes and hurling them into the heavens. Others say Matariki is the mother surrounded by her six daughters, Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi, WaitÄ«, Waitā, Waipuna-ā-rangi and Ururangi. One account explains that Matariki and her daughters appear to assist the sun, Te Rā, whose winter journey from the north has left him weakened.

The Maori New Year begins with the sighting of the first new moon after the first appearance of Matariki. Traditionally Matariki marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the planting season. Today Matariki means celebrating the unique place we live in, and giving respect to the land we live on.

The appearance of Matariki in the morning sky is considered vital on its first outing. If the stars in the cluster are clear and bright, it is thought the year ahead will be warm and productive. If they appear hazy and shimmering, an unproductive year is in store.

The bright star Puanga — or Rigel — also emerges at about the same time, and for some iwi it is the appearance of Puanga rather than Matariki that has significance and is celebrated. Iwi who celebrate this star are those who don’t see Matariki, those who live in the west, some parts of the far north, and parts of the South Island.

As the natural world regenerates and another seasonal round begins, Matariki is a time to pause and reflect — on the year that was, and the year that will be.

No reira Kia hora te marino, Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana, Kia tere te karohirohi.
May the sea be calm, may the shimmer of the summer glisten like greenstone and dance across your pathway as you explore the joys of Matariki.


Raglan events

Matapihi Art Gallery

Constellation Collaborative
Design a star from harakeke with local weavers and then make a wish as you hang the star in the gallery. All are welcome. Lets make this a really giant starry sky.
21 June — 25 July.

7 Brothers and 7 Sisters Performance Evenings

Featured Artists weekly exhibiting Matariki inspired works.

34 Bow St , Whaingaroa/ Raglan
Further info : (07) 825 6515

The Matariki Short Film Festival

Taking place at Raglan Old School Arts Centre on 24th July. Seven very different short films selected for Matariki, where the common thread connecting them is identity.
BROTHER SMASHPROOF // 2009 NZ 5 mins Director Chris Graham.
SIX DOLLAR FIFTY MAN // 2010 NZ 15 mins Directors Mark Albiston & Louis Sutherland.
LILY AND RA // 2009 NZ 8 mins Director Armagan Ballantyne.
URU // 2010 NZ 16 mins Director Hiona Henare.
MOKOPUNA // 2009 NZ 12 min Director/Writer Ainsley Gardiner.
KEHUA // 2009 NZ 13 min Director/Writer Wiremu Grace.
THE WHITE TIGER // 2009 NZ 8 mins Director Taika Waititi (Te Whanau-a-Apanui).
WARBRICK // 2009 NZ 15 min Director Meihana & Pere Durie.