In Aotearoa New Zealand the appearance of the Matariki (aka Pleiades) star cluster on the Eastern horizon before sunrise marks the beginning of the Māori New Year.

The Matariki period is aligned with the Māori lunar calendar, Maramataka, and in 2020 it is observed on the 13th - 20th July.

According to Tūhoe astronomer, Dr Rangi Matamua, "The arrival of Matariki is a sign for people to gather, to honour the dead, celebrate the present and plan for the future."

Dr Rangi Matamua

Tūhoe astronomer Dr Rangi Matamua

"For our tūpuna, our Māori ancestors, astronomy was interwoven into all facets of life... This knowledge was connected to seasonal activities such as planting and harvesting, the flowering of plants, the spawning of fish and the natural cycles of the environment."

If you'd like to find out more check out the following links:

Dr Rangi Mataamua - Sharing the Knowledge of Matariki (RNZ Interview, 29mins)

Matariki Handbook (PDF download from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa)

Matariki (Te Ara, The Encyclopaedia of NZ)


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