Matariki is a Māori word that can be translated as tiny eyes, or eyes of God. It is also the name for the Māori New Year celebration and the Māori name for a small group of stars (Pleiades) that drop below the horizon in April and reappear in June. When this happens, it is the signal for the Māori New Year to start. Early Māori sailors used these stars to help them find their way.
Find out what happened in June 2016 for Matariki.
- What happens at Matariki?
- Colouring in
- Find books about Matariki in our collection.
- Read our page on Matariki.
- Find more Matariki websites.
What happens at Matariki?
Different tribes celebrate Matariki in different ways. In the past, it was a time to:
- Finish storing up food for the winter.
- Create new woven clothes and baskets.
- Remember our ancestors and listen to old tribal stories.
- Learn about the natural world.
- Learn to play string games.
- Celebrate the coming year.
- Make, decorate and fly kites.
Some things we might do now at Matariki include:
- Have a celebration with friends and whānau.
- Learn or do some weaving.
- Learn about stars and see Matariki through a telescope.
- Talk to people in our family about our family history and stories.
- Fly kites.
- Watch kapa haka performances.
- Learn about Māori myths and culture.
- Give respect to the whenua (land) on which we live.
- Learn more about how we can care for our Mother Earth Papatūānuku
Discover Matariki stories
There are many different stories about Matariki.
One is that Matariki is a mother with her six daughters around her. Another is that the god Tāwhirimātea was angry that the Sky (Ranginui) and the Earth (Papatūānuku) were separated and tore out his eyes and threw them into the sky to comfort Ranginui. Other countries also have their own stories about these stars.
Now that you have learned a little about Matariki — why don’t you take our quiz and see how well you can do!
- Kites were seen as connectors between heaven and earth, and were often flown at this event, especially on the first day of the New Year.
- Food and kai
- Preparing a meal for friends and whanau is traditional at Matariki.
- We focus on our whakapapa, our family history, during Matariki.
- Stars and space
- Matariki is all about watching the stars and learning about them. You can take a trip to the stars with our space explorer!
- Te Whata Raki
- Come and discover the new world inside Te Whata Raki. Explore our new online world with your guide, Whetu Marama. Learn about some traditional stories, told through waiata, pictures and other web resources before trying out the quiz.
- You can make lots of different things if you learn a little bit about weaving. Learn how to make a star or a putiputi (flower).
Download these colouring in pages.
- Mana [29KB PNG, 180KB PDF]
- Places [39KB PNG, 224KB PDF]
- Mātauranga [77KB PNG, 214KB PDF]
- Ngā mahi hou [59KB PNG, 200KB PDF]
- Whānau [62KB PNG, 398KB PDF]
- Matariki shapes [90KB PNG, 204KB PDF]
Photos of Matariki
See our set of Matariki photos on Flickr.