Ngā Whāinga mā Matariki – Challenges for Matariki

While the time of Matariki shifts each year due to the phases of Maramataka (Māori lunar environmental calendar), Christchurch City Libraries dedicate the month of June each year to either celebrating or preparing for the rising of Matariki and with it the Māori New Year.

For 11 months of the year, Matariki travels the night sky at the front of a great waka that collects the spirits of those who have passed away. It has different names from place to place  but it is most commonly known as Te Waka o Rangi.  At the end of the 11th month, the waka travels into the underworld where the spirits are prepared to become stars in the night sky and be watched over by the star Pōhutukawa.

Matariki returns to our skies in the Tangaroa phase (last quarter) of the Maramataka. Our Matariki celebrations continue until the Whiro phase (new Moon) of the Maramataka. This is normally about 5 to 7 days of moving from phase of Tangaroa to Whiro.

Year Setting Rising Period
2020 15 May 13-16 July 13-20 July
2021 2 June 2-5 July 2-10 July
2022 23 May 21-24 June 21-29 June
2023 13 May 10-13 July 11-17 July
2024 31 May 29 June-2 July 29 June-6 July
2025 21 May 19-22 June 19-25 June
2026 8 June 8-11 July 8-14 July

 Dates sourced from Matariki: The Star of the Year by Dr Rangi Mātāmua

Hei Mahi – things to do

  • Manu Tukutuku – Kites: Kite flying is a big part of Matariki celebrations. It is a way of sending your wishes for the coming year to Hiwa-i-te-Rangi. She is our wishing star, associated with helping people achieving their goals and wishes for the coming year. Traditional Māori kites are called Manu Tukutuku and come in many styles. The most popular of these is the Manu Taratahi made from toitoi and raupō, lashed with harakeke.  Explore your home to see what you can use to make a Manu Taratahi or Western style kites like a garbage bag kite or a DIY kite design.
  • Hākari – Feasts: Matariki is a time when we come together as a whānau and give thanks for our many blessings. During these gatherings hākari or feasts are held. Popular dishes included in these hākari are: 
    • Rewena a Māori sour dough bread made with Riwai (potato)
    • Hāngī a slow cooker version is great for those who don’t have room for a ground hāngī.
    • Parāoa Parai – known as fry bread , bloaters or Chatham Island donuts

More information

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