Notes for a New Year

There is more to Matariki than meets the eye. Use some of these resources to dig deeper.

Written by      

If Nic Low’s story Matariki Rising has left you curious, we have assembled some resources to dip into to explore the subject further.

Here is a simplified example of a 30-day maramataka cycle, created by Ayla Hoeta (Tainui, Ngāti Tahinga), based on knowledge from Matua Rereata Mākiha (Ngāti Whakaheke, Te Aupōuri, Te Arawa) from the Hokianga. There are a multitude of regionalised versions, each shaped by the local environment. For example, coastal iwi who rely on fishing have more nights related to Tangaroa, atua of the sea. There’s variation in the names and kōrero behind each night as well.

Start learning about the maramataka by using this calendar to explore new ways of structuring your month: planning trips to the bush or sea, getting into the garden and scheduling days to give back to your local environment. See what happens if you think about your month as a rhythm of higher and lower energy periods (marked green and red respectively), and plan work and activities to match.

There is a lot more detail on some guidance about how to plan your life by the maramataka on the Te Papa website, including what is known about Māori astronomy and cosmology.

These themes are also explored in The Spinoff’s Maramataka collection, and the work of Ayla Hoeta on The Spinoff.

Mr Matariki, Rangi Matamua has been profiled in New Zealand Geographic, and also has his own book which is as a good a reference as you will find. Arguably better Elsdon Best’s book, though the latter still has important historical relevance. James Cowan has his version of the Hatupatu kōrero, while Whiti Hereaka turns the story on its head with her award-winning retelling from the point of view of the bird-woman.

And just in case anyone felt Aotearoa was alone in this cultural revival, read about the renaissance happening in Australia as well!

More by