Let’s celebrate Matariki

This month, many people will be taking part in Matariki festivities around the country to celebrate the New Year. Here is some information about how you can celebrate Matariki in your school and where you can go to find resources to support you.

Celebrating the New Year

The New Year is celebrated in many different ways, at various times all around the world.

In Denmark, the New Year is celebrated on 1 January. Throughout the year, Danish people collect broken bits of china which they smash against their friends’ door on New Year’s Eve as a sign of affection. The number of broken plates there are in front of one’s door symbolises how many friends they will have in the New Year.

In Sri Lanka, the New Year known as ‘Aluth Avurudhu’ is celebrated in mid-April. House cleaning, lighting of the hearth and cooking auspicious dishes are a few of the rituals that take place during this time.

In New Zealand, many people will be taking part in Matariki festivities this month to celebrate the New Year. 

Matariki

The Māori New Year is marked by the rise of Matariki, the Pleiades star cluster or The Seven Sisters, and the sighting of the next new moon.

Photo of Matariki star clusterMatariki is the traditional Māori New Year by Ron Mader CC BY-SA 2.0

Historically, Matariki marked the start of winter. During this time, Māori would come together to prepare for the cold season. Matariki was also used to predict future seasons. If the stars in the cluster were clear and bright during its pre-dawn rise, it was a sign that it would be a warm and bountiful season (he kaihaukai te tau). However, if the stars in the cluster were hazy and shimmering, it was believed it would be a cold and difficult season (he tau tūpuhi). Giving thanks and respecting nature was, and still is, very important to Māori. This is particularly emphasised during Matariki.

Matariki is a time for Māori to reflect on the past and plan for the future. It is also a time to spend with whānau, to remember those who have passed and to learn about their whakapapa.

Matariki celebrations

This year, Matariki is due to begin on Sunday 25 June. There are a number of events being held around the country to celebrate Matariki. Check out the following links to find events being held next to you:

Celebrating Matariki in your school

There a number of ways you can celebrate Matariki in the classroom. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Teach your students the art of weaving or make origami stars representing The Seven Sisters.
  • There are a number of Maori legends associated with Matariki. Ask your students to present on one of these stories as an illustrated story.
  • Ask your students to research the significance of Matariki in other parts of the world and share their findings in a blog post.
  • Teach your students the Matariki waitata, Ngā Tamariki O Matariki, or another te reo song to help them develop their Māori language skills.
  • Ask your students to write a poem or short story about Matariki and share it with the class.

Matariki in Topic Explorer 

Our Matariki topic set includes a variety of hand-picked resources that explore all aspects of Matariki, including stars, waiata, arts and craft etc.

You may also find these topic sets useful:

Matariki in Many Answers

Check out our Many Answers entry on Matariki, which includes links to a number quality websites and other useful resources that have been carefully selected by our librarians.

Books about Matariki

It’s now time to place your inquiry loan request for terms 3 and 4. We have a number of Matariki-related books available for your school to borrow. You are welcome to request these books when placing your next order.

More information on requesting books from Services to Schools can be found on the Lending service section of our website.

So let's celebrate...

Matariki is a celebration of people, language, culture, spirituality, and history. Let’s use this as an opportunity to explore and celebrate the Maori culture and language.

By Amy Jacob

Amy is a librarian with Services to Schools.

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natalie June 27th at 4:22PM

that was a really good effort on this website