Matariki is the Māori name for the star cluster known as Pleiades, Seven Sisters, or M45. Matariki can be translated as ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). The star cluster is visible in the early morning before sunrise. For Māori and other Pacific peoples, the arrival of Matariki in the morning sky in mid-winter marks a new year.
Not only does Matariki herald the start of a new year, but it is a time to celebrate the crops and food that have been harvested and stored for the winter. For this reason it has become the New Zealand Thanksgiving. Celebrations include public gatherings and kites are flown according to ancient custom, flying towards the stars. Matariki has also become a festival of Māori culture, including history, art, fashion, and traditional medicines.
In 2017 Matariki starts with the Dawn Karakia (puja) on Saturday June 10 at 6.30am. Celebrations continue until Sunday July 2, 2017. More details are available here:
Happy Matariki from @happy_ops