A group of children aged between six and nine was asked what they knew about Matariki.
“Matariki is a star and we celebrate it because it's a special star. But I'm not really sure why we celebrate it,” said seven-year-old Micah.
Jade said it's the seven sisters.
“No idea why we celebrate it, maybe because you can see the stars on a certain night. It fun because we get to make soup and share food.”
She thought a little harder.
“It's a Maori culture. They need to harvest their food when they can see the stars.”
Francis aged six said it was the start of the Maori new year.
“There might be fireworks,” he said.
Matariki signals the Māori New Year that begins with the rising of the Matariki star cluster.
Not all iwi celebrate at the same time. Some may begin festivities on the first full moon after the star cluster rises, or on the next new moon.
The cluster, known in English as the Seven Sisters or by its Greek name the Pleiades, is visible to the naked eye during mid-winter.
In Hawaii, it is called Makali‘i, or eyes of royalty, and in Japan it is Subaru, meaning gathered together.
Tohunga looked to the Matariki star cluster to find out how abundant the upcoming year’s harvest would be. Bright, clear stars promised a warm and successful season.
Hazy stars warned of cold weather and poor crops.
Traditionally, festivities were conducted to celebrate Matariki.
They followed the harvesting of crops when the pātaka were full, freeing up time for family and leisure. They would light ritual fires, make offerings, and celebrate to farewell the dead, honour ancestors, and celebrate life.
This information was easily found on the Te Papa Museum website, but Ngai Tahu POSITION NAME believes