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. Matariki has become a festival of Māori culture, including history, art, fashion, and traditional medicines.
In 2018 Matariki starts with the Dawn Karakia (puja) on Friday June 15 at 6.30am. It coincides with the southern hemisphere’s winter solstice on Thursday June 21, that marks the shortest day. In the southern hemisphere is means that the days will slowly become longer.
Wishing you a happy Matariki and a wonderful year ahead.