This year, for the first time, New Zealand will get a public holiday to celebrate Matariki.
What is Matariki, you may ask, and what has it to do with decluttering and organising?
Matariki is the Maori New Year. As with most New Year observations, it is a time to reflect on the past and say a fond ‘Goodbye’.
What exactly is Matariki?
It is a star and a star cluster. It begins to rise around mid-winter, in the pre-dawn sky, as seen from New Zealand. Matariki is called Pleiades (or the Seven Sisters) in English and Subaru in Japanese. It is a cluster of seven or nine stars.
The Maori calendar is composed of seasons, months and days. These are determined by the movements of the Sun, certain stars rising in the pre-dawn sky and the phases of the moon. As the Earth itself is traveling through the universe, Matariki does not have a fixed date.
In 2021, the Matariki star cluster began to rise on 19th June. Most advantageous is the waning lunar phase. Therefore, the New Year celebrations will not start until the moons’ last quarter, which starts on 2nd July, and they will carry on to the 9thJuly. A week long party!
What the stars mean? * (from Te Papa website)
- Matariki – is the star that signifies reflection, hope, our connection to the environment, and the gathering of people. Associated with health and wellbeing.
- Waitī – associated with all fresh water bodies and food sources sustained by those waters.
- Waitā – associated with the ocean, and food sources within it.
- Waipuna-ā-rangi – associated with the rain.
- Tupuānuku – associated with everything that grows within the soil for harvest or gathered for food.
- Tupuārangi – associated with everything that grows up in the trees: fruits, berries, and birds.
- Ururangi – associated with the winds.
- Pōhutukawa – associated with those that have passed on.
- Hiwa-i-te-rangi – associated with granting our wishes, and realising our aspirations for the coming year.
I attended a webinar recently in which NZ scholar, Roimata Claasen, spoke. She gave some insights on how we can celebrate this new holiday. It should be a time for gathering together to reflect on the past year and to think of our aspirations for the coming time. She suggests that we remember those who have died over the past year and bid them farewell, allowing them to move on. We can then celebrate life in the present, plan for the future and send our hopes and dreams to the wishing star, Hiwa-i-te-rangi.
You can find further information at
Te Papa website, NZ National Museum.
Living By The Stars, which has a fabulous calendar and link to the book by Professor Rangi Matamua, Matariki: The Star of the Year, who, as a Maori astronomer, is a recognised authority on Matariki.