Purapura Whetū: Matariki Resources for Pākeke

The Māori New Year is now upon us – and although the rain is pouring and the tornadoes are twisting and turning, there is still a time for rest after the harvesting of the crops, physical or otherwise; a time for reflecting on our tūpuna who have passed on; a time to reflect on the effects of Covid-19; and a time to rejoice in precious taonga – be they whānau or otherwise, or just plan for a better life ahead.

Te Kāhui whetū o Matariki the stars of matariki
Te Kāhui whetū o Matariki

There are many tohu, or signs, that mark the coming of the new year. Māori of the West Coast of New Zealand aren’t able to view the rising of Matariki, low down on the eastern horizon at this time of the year. So we, in Taranaki and Wellington, turn to Puanga (Rigel, of Orion’s constellation), to mark the Māori New Year. But it is to Matariki that most people look, and although Matariki is a cluster of many stars, we commonly talk about it in terms of the worldwide star story of the Seven Sisters.


Even today, more is being learnt about Matariki. Recently, Dr. Rangi Mātāmua rediscovered a manuscript of his tupuna’s which added two extra stars, Pōhutukawa and Hiwaiterangi, to the kāhui whetū– making up a cluster of nine stars of Matariki. You can learn more about Dr. Mātāmua’s work here. If you’re looking for more information, you can also start with Qiane Matata-Sipu’s Spinoff piece from last year, which has wonderful background on ngā whetū, as well as the kaupapa of the new year around the motu.

Our eLibrary collection includes a wide range of resources about Matariki, Te Ao Māori and the history of Aotearoa. To celebrate Matariki, we have collated a list of these titles, called “He Matatiki: Matariki Reads from Te Ao Māori”. Make sure to have a look through all the treasures in this kete! You can also find more information about Te Ao Māori, whakapapa research and the history of Te Whanganui a Tara in the Māori Resources section of our website.

Throughout these school holidays, we are presenting a range of Matariki activities for tamariki and whānau, as part of our #purapurawhetu Matariki festival. These range from crafting to storytimes, and include activities in both Te Reo Māori and English. You can learn more about our #purapurawhetu programme here. Check our calendar for all the events.

Nō reira, nau mai haere mai ki ōu tātou whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! Come along and celebrate Matariki with Wellington City Libraries!

Me mihi ka tika mātou ki a Ann, i tuku āwhina i ēnei mahi. Thanks and mihi to Ann for her help in putting together these resources!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *