The caring stars of Matariki

This year the cluster of stars known as Matariki will rise in the dawn-sky in June. This will mark the start of the Māori New Year. Traditionally Māori would look to Matariki for help with the harvest and planting of new crops. As in the past, Matariki remains a time to gather with whānau (family) and friends, to celebrate new life, remember those who have passed and plan for the future. 

In 2019 we are focusing on the caring, or guardian stars. These are Matariki, Pōhutukawa, and Hiwa-i-te-Rangi. We have put together some resources and activities, available at your local library, to help focus your reflections and plans during Matariki.

Matariki the nurturing mother

Matariki is the Mother star that nurtures the rest of the stars in the cluster. She signifies reflection, hope and our connection to the environment and people. She is also connected to the health and well-being of people.

Perhaps you might like to take some time in June to nurture yourself, your whānau and your friends? You could gather together to indulge in some delicious kai (food), or to enjoy the beauty of nature around you. Take a look at some of these titles to get some ideas.

Kai Ora

Food for Family & Friends



Gardening for Mindfulness

Exploring Aotearoa

Or maybe you could take part in a guided relaxation with Papatuanuku (Mother Nature), opens a new window

Rememberance and Pōhutukawa

The constellation of Te Waka o Rangi is a waka (canoe) captained by the star called Taramainuku. Matariki sits up at the front of this waka. Every night that Te Waka o Rangi can be seen in the sky, Taramainuku casts his great net to collect the spirits of those who have passed away. He carries them on his waka for 11 months until the constellation sets in May. Te Waka o Rangi returns to our skies in June and Taramainuku opens his net. This allows Pōhutukawa to place the spirits of our tūpuna (ancestors) as new stars in the sky. Pōhutukawa is therefore connected with those that have passed on and is the star that helps us to remember our tūpuna. 

You may like to take time in Matariki to gather with your whānau and remember your tūpuna. Perhaps some of our whakapapa (genealogy) resources could help you and your whānau to do this?. We have a variety of family history courses available for you to take part in. Take a look at our calendar, opens a new window to find one that suits you, or book a session, opens a new window with a family history librarian.

We also have a great range of eResources, opens a new window, guides, opens a new window and books that can help you connect you tūpuna. Here are a few titles to get you started.

How to Archive Family Keepsakes

Capturing Memories


New Zealand Beginner's Guide to Family History Research

Aspirations and Hiwa-i-te-rangi:

Hiwa-i-te-rangi, the wishing star, helps us realise our dreams for the New Year. It is believed that, if you can see Hiwa-i-te-Rangi bright in the sky during Matariki, your wishes for the year will come true.

What goals are you looking to set this year?. You could check out some of these titles, they may just inspire you to turn your dreams into reality.

Make Anything Happen

Your Best Year Ever


Train your Head & your Body Will Follow

Or maybe there is a skill that you have been wanting to learn for a while?. Perhaps another language .... Spanish, Cantonese or even Pirate?. Mango Languages, opens a new window is an online resource that offers over 70 different language courses.

We can also help you with your creative ideas. Feel free to drop by our Production Studio, opens a new window at Tūranga to get some assistance with sewing, 3D printing, laser cutting and much more. You can even record that track, opens a new window you have been working on for ages.

Find out more

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