Matariki marks the start of the Māori New Year and is a special occasion on the New Zealand calendar. Matariki is a star cluster that appears in the early morning sky in New Zealand during the mid-winter months and historically is closely linked to the harvesting of food.
After the harvesting of traditional crops such as kumara and karaka berries, Māori would celebrate with whanau (family) and this coincided with the reappearance of Matariki.
Matariki is also linked with planning and preparing the ground for the following year's crops.
Next year, the first-ever Matariki Public Holiday will start in New Zealand (on June 24th 2022) giving Kiwis a chance to celebrate and mark Matariki. Matariki celebrations start on a different date every year as the Matariki rising changes and this year it officially begins on July 2nd.
Here are five ways to hold a Matariki celebration 2021 with loved ones. Celebratio it this year and every year.
Five easy ways to celebrate Matariki
Host a meal with friends or whanau
Come together with your loved ones, celebrate and give thanks together. It could even be an ideal chance to try out some traditional Māori kai (food) or other cultural dishes.
Create a vegetable garden
Matariki is about harvest so why not use Matariki as an opportunity to plan, prepare and plant a vegetable patch with friends or whanau? Then later share the produce!
Donate a crop-based Gifts that Grow item to a family in need
Check out the crop-based Gifts that Grow items that help feed vulnerable children and their families. Giving a Moringa Tree or a Green Garden Pack will give families the tools they need to grow their own produce and feed their children healthy meals. A successful harvest can also generate extra income at their local markets. What a great way to make it an extra special Matariki Celebration 2021.
Star gaze with your loved ones
Rise before sunrise and watch the stars together. To see the cluster of stars that marks Matariki, look to the northeast before sunrise. Then, search for the distinct line of stars that forms Tautoru (or Orion’s belt). Keep moving your gaze north of these three stars until you see a cluster of tiny stars that are roughly as wide as Tautoru is long. These are the Matariki stars. As one of the star clusters nearest to Earth, this constellation is one of the most easiest to see (information from kiwifamilies.co.nz).
Go to a Matariki event near you
Matariki events are held all around the country including many that are free to attend. You can look at https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/tour/2021/matariki-festival-2021 to find one near you.
Further reading on Matariki
For reference or for further reading, check out the following helpful links: