Matariki is visible during most of the year. It is always there as a comforting reminder of where you are and was used as one of the many markers in the night sky by Polynesian navigators of old. But, in about the month of May Matariki disappears only to rise again in the pre-dawn sky after the full moon from mid to late-June every year.
Its rising is cause for much rejoicing and marks the new year for Pacific people. In recent year’s this has also become more relevant in Aotearoa.
Referred to in the European sense as Pleiades, Matariki is an important constellation to indigenous people throughout the Pacific and other cultures around the world. It can literally translate to meaning ‘the eyes of God’ (Mata Ariki).
In Samoa it is Matali’i; in Tahiti is is Matari’i; in Hawai’i it is Makali’i; and in Rarotonga and Aotearoa it is known as Matariki – a star lore that stretches far back into the pre-European Pacific.
It’s a time to prepare, to share ideas, to remember the past and celebrate the future. It’s a time to give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth Papatūānuku. Throughout Matariki we learn about those who came before us: our history, our family, our bones.