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Matariki - the Māori New Year

What is Matariki?

Matariki is the Māori name for the star cluster known as the Pleiades. Traditionally for Māori when it appeared just before dawn in late May or early June, it signalled the start of the Māori New Year. For some tribes, the rising of Puanga (Rigel in Orion) signals the start of the New Year. In the early 2000s Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (Māori Language Commission), the Ministry of Education and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, became involved in the revival of Matariki celebrations.

When is Matariki?

Different tribes celebrated Matariki at different times.  For some it was when Matariki rose in May/June. For others it was celebrated at the first new moon, or full moon, following the rising of Matariki. In the 21st century it is the new moon following the rising of Matariki that signals the New Year.

Matariki is due to begin on 25 June in 2017.

View of the Tāmaki-makau-rau sky at about 6:33am on 10 June 2015. Image is courtesy of Dayne Laird.

For many iwi the appearance of Puanga (Rigel in Orion) in the night sky signalled the start of winter. Puanga was said to be one of the parents of the climbing plant puawānanga.

How to find Matariki (the Pleiades)


You can either check out, ‘A beginner’s guide to finding Matariki’ on Te Ara's blog, or ‘Help finding Matariki’ on the Matariki events site.

YouTube also features video clips about Matariki.

A beginner's guide to finding Matariki

Dayne Laird's Matariki images on twitter

YouTube Matariki clips

Matariki resources

The Ministry does not have any printed Matariki resources.  However you can download the following Ministry desktop wallpaper from our website.

Another free download includes three Matariki colouring book pages for tamariki to print and colour from Auahi Kore's website.

Auahi Kore

Where to find Matariki events

Eventfinda's Matariki 2017 events

The stars align for Auckland Live’s Matariki celebrations

Waikato District Libraries - Celebrate Matariki with your local library and be in to win

Te Papa's National Services - read a related Te Papa media release Matariki Rising celebrations for the whole whānau

Wellington's Ngā Taonga Programme Celebrates Matariki: Tau Hou 2017

Christchurch City Libraries' Matariki page


Updated on 23rd May 2017