Dr Rangi Matamua in conversation about Māori astronomy and star lore


Photo used with the kind permission of ‘The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes Secretariat’; all rights reserved.

Dr Rangi Matamua (Tūhoe) is one of Aotearoa’s top science communicators, a professor at the University of Waikato and an expert in the fields of Māori astronomy and star lore, as well as Māori language development, research and revitalisation. Not only is he an expert in these fields but he loves to talk about them and travels extensively throughout the country giving public lectures about Matariki and Māori astronomy.

Dr Matamua received the Prime Minister’s Science Prize and won the 2020 Callaghan Medal, as well as being awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Society Te Apārangi in recognition that his work “has revolutionised understandings of Māori astronomy, and in particular Matariki”.

Dr Matamua has been critical of the way Western scientific astronomy  belittles or ignores traditional Māori knowledge. One of his future plans to address this imbalance is to create a Māori observatory, based on a traditional observatory but also using modern technology and knowledge. He is also the author of several excellent books on these subjects.

This interview was done in conjunction with Caffeine and Aspirin, the arts and entertainment review show on Radioactive FM and was conducted by host Tanya Ashcroft.

We are thrilled that Dr Matamua took time out from his very busy schedule to talk to us about his new book, his career, and loads of other fascinating scientific topics, and we wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to him. For more information visit https://livingbythestars.co.nz/.

Dr Matamua’s books are available to borrow from the library; see details below.

Matariki : te whetū tapu o te tau / Matamua, Rangi
“In midwinter, Matariki rises in the pre-dawn sky, and its observation is celebrated with incantations on hilltops at dawn, balls, exhibitions, dinners and a vast number of events. The Matariki tradition has been re-established, and its regeneration coincides with a growing interest in Māori astronomy. Still, there remain some unanswered questions about how Matariki was traditionally observed. What is Matariki? Why did Māori observe Matariki? How did Māori traditionally celebrate Matariki? When and how should Matariki be celebrated? This book seeks answers to these questions and explores what Matariki was in a traditional sense so it can be understood and celebrated in our modern society.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Matariki : the star of the year / Matamua, Rangi
“In midwinter, Matariki rises in the pre-dawn sky, and its observation is celebrated with incantations on hilltops at dawn, balls, exhibitions, dinners and a vast number of events. The Matariki tradition has been re-established, and its regeneration coincides with a growing interest in Māori astronomy. Still, there remain some unanswered questions about how Matariki was traditionally observed. These include: What is Matariki? Why did Māori observe Matariki? How did Māori traditionally celebrate Matariki? When and how should Matariki be celebrated? There has been a resurgence of interest in and celebration of Matariki, and this book provides accessible information about its meaning and significance, how to locate Matariki and when, traditional customs and knowledge regarding Matariki and current-day practices”( Adapted from Catalogue)

Ngā kete mātauranga : Māori scholars at the research interface
“In this beautiful and transformative book, 24 Maori academics share their personal journeys, revealing what being Māori has meant for them in their work. Their perspectives provide insight for all New Zealanders into how mātauranga is positively influencing the Western-dominated disciplines of knowledge in the research sector. It is a shameful fact, says co-editor Jacinta Ruru in her introduction to Ngā Kete Mātauranga, that in 2020, only about 5 percent of academic staff at universities in Aotearoa New Zealand are Māori. Tertiary institutions have for the most part been hostile places for Indigenous students and staff, and this book is an important call for action. ‘It is well past time that our country seriously commits to decolonising the tertiary workforce, curriculum and research agenda,’ writes Professor Ruru.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Matariki 2021 at your libraries!

Tēnā koutou katoa, e te whānau!

From 2 – 10 July, Wellington City Libraries is celebrating Matariki with a range of events, crafts, storytelling sessions, and experiences for whānau and tamariki all over our city. Don’t forget to also check out the Wellington City Council website to find out about the huge range of exciting activities taking place outside our libraries during Matariki.

Continue reading “Matariki 2021 at your libraries!”

Tapa Whenua: Naming the Land

Tēnā koutou katoa, e te whānau! Matariki is a time for recollection and remembering, as well as hope for the new year. In this post, Ann Reweti, our Māori Customer Specialist, brings together a range of resources that outline the history of place names here in Te Whanganui-a-Tara and farther afield.

As Te Ara, The Encyclopedia of New Zealand has it:

“The adage ‘to name is to claim’ has been central to discovery and exploration since time immemorial – Māori call it tapa whenua, whakaingoa whenua or whakahau whenua

Naming places involved a number of customs, including:

  • transplanting Polynesian ancestral names and symbolism to New Zealand places
  • taunaha (naming after body parts) to emphasise personal claims to land
  • naming places according to their features
  • naming places after people
  • naming for historical or spiritual reasons
  • naming to celebrate cultural icons.”

Ngā Ingoa Peka Māori: Our Māori Branch Names

Our whare pukapuka each have a Māori name. The stories of these names, and the places they relate to can be found on our branch names page.

Online Kōrero


“Taunaha Whenua: Naming the Land”
This Matariki, Wellington City Libraries were proud to tautoko a kōrero by Honiana Love, Tumu Whakarae of Ngā Taonga, called “Taunaha Whenua: Naming the Land”. Honiana spoke about history of place names used by mana whenua in this rohe, packing out the National Library Auditorium.

“Memorials, Names and Ethical Remembering”
The day before, the National Library also held their first Public History talk for the year, “Memorials, Names and Ethical Remembering”, with Morrie Love, Nicky Karu and Ewan Morris.

We’re glad to be able to share links to recordings of both those kōrero.

Books


Illustrated Maori place names / Reed, A. W.
“Many Maori place names date back to the very earliest days of habitation in Aotearoa New Zealand. Some, in fact, originated in the Hawaiki homeland and were adapted to the new land. Whatever their origin, most reflect the Maori’s closeness to the forces of nature and incorporate common words for everyday things. Lavishly illustrated, this dictionary explains and interprets over 1500 place names as well as providing a guide to pronunciation.” (Catalogue)

Making our place : exploring land-use tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand
“Fascination with the interplay of people and place inspired the editors to bring together New Zealanders from different backgrounds and disciplines to explore some of the stories and sites of conflict and change to be found amongst our sacred, historic, rural, urban and coastal landscapes.” (Catalogue)

Exploring Aotearoa : short walks to reveal the Māori landscape / Janssen, Peter
“Take a short walk with this book and see the Maori landscape through fresh eyes. Maori culture has close ties with the landscape, in pa and early battle sites, and in myths and legends. From north to south, nearly 200 of the most accessible and memorable landmarks can be visited including volcanic summits, headlands, lakes and islands as well as pa sites urupa (graveyards), and hunting and fishing grounds.” (Catalogue)

Boundary markers : land surveying and the colonisation of New Zealand / Byrnes, Giselle
“In a country where land disputes were the chief cause of conflict between the coloniser and the colonised, surveying could never be a neutral, depoliticised pastime. In a groundbreaking piece of scholarship, Giselle Byrnes examines the way surveyors became figuratively and literally ‘the cutting edge of colonisation’. Clearing New Zealand’s vast forests, laying out town plans and deciding on place names, they were at every moment asserting British power. Boundary Markers also shows how the surveyors’ ‘commercial gaze’, a view of the countryside coloured by the desire for profit, put them at odds with the Māori view of land.” (Publisher’s Description).

Online Resources


The Great Harbour of Tara, by G. L. Adkin.
This work details the traditional Māori place-names and sites of Wellington. It is available in full through Wellington City Libraries’ Recollect site.

Te Ara o nga Tupuna: The path of our ancestors.
“Te Ara o nga Tupuna: The path of our ancestors” is a trail around Te Whanganui-a-Tara which takes in many traditional sites. The trail description on our website contains many kōrero about these places, and the history of their names.

Nga Tupuna o Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Vol. 1).
The Nga Tupuna project was initiated by Wellington City Libraries working in collaboration with the Wellington Tenth’s Trust. While the history of Maori ownership of land around the Wellington area was being researched as part of various Treaty of Waitangi claims, it was felt that not enough emphasis was being given to the biographies of the individuals being named in those claims. This document is the first of four volumes of collected biographies. (WCL Recollect).

He Korero Purakau mo nga taunahanahatanga a nga tupuna: Place names of the ancestors, a Māori oral history atlas.
This title collects oral histories of place names from around Aotearoa, and is available as a digital resource, from LINZ, as well as in our library collection.

The Pukeahu Anthology.
“Pukeahu: An Exploratory Anthology” is a place-based anthology of waiata, poems, essays, and fiction about Pukeahu / Mt Cook, a small hill in Wellington, Aotearoa-New Zealand that rises between two streams.

Kā Huru Manu : the Ngāi Tahu cultural mapping project.
Kā Huru Manu is dedicated to recording and mapping the traditional Māori place names and associated histories in the Kāi Tahu rohe.

To learn more about place names, or any other of ngā mea Māori, you can email Ann Reweti here.

“Taunaha Whenua: Naming the Land”, a Matariki Kōrero from Honiana Love

Tēnā koutou katoa e te whānau! Nau mai, haere mai ki te whakarongo ki tēnei kōrero. This matariki, we are proud to present a kōrero from Honiana Love about the significance of place names around Pōneke.

Honiana Love, Kaiāwhina Tumu Whakarae, Ngā Taonga Sound. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court.

Matariki is a powerful time of reflection, and there’s no better time than now to learn more about the history of Aotearoa.

Ngā Taonga, The National Library and Wellington City Libraries are proud to present Honiana Love’s kōrero “Taunaha Whēnua: Naming the Land”, at the National Library, on 16 July at 1230pm.

Honiana is Tumu Whakarae / Chief Executive of Ngā Taonga, and she will be discussing how names like Owhiro, Pipitea and Kaitoa have much to tell us about the gardens, swamps and food-gathering areas which have stood where we stand today.

This event is a free presentation of Ngā Taonga, The National Library of New Zealand and Wellington City Libraries. All are welcome, and the event will be recorded and shared at a later date.

“Taunaha Whēnua: Naming the Land” is part of Wellington City Libraries’ #purapurawhetu Matariki festival. You can learn more here about our other events, for tamariki and their whānau, these school holidays.

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!

Purapura Whetū: A Matariki festival in our libraries

Tēnā koutou katoa, e te whānau! This July, we are celebrating Matariki with Purapura Whetū, a special festival of events, crafts, storytelling, and reflection for whānau and tamariki all over our city.

As well as all the programmes listed below, each of our libraries will have special crafting stations set up where you can make your very own star to add to our city-wide purapura whetū; a pattern, or web of stars.

Why do we celebrate Matariki? The star cluster Matariki (also known as the Pleiades) reappears in the dawn sky about Aotearoa in late May or early June. The new moon following the rising of Matariki signals the Māori New Year. Customarily, this was a time to remember the deceased of the past year and to plan for the new year. Today, Matariki has been revived as a celebration of people, culture, language, spirituality, and history. It is a time for whānau and friends to come together to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the year ahead. When you add your star to our purapura whetū, we invite you to send a message to someone you love, or reflect on the year that has just passed.

Come down to your library to make your whetū (star) and add it to our constellation!

Nau mai haere mai ki te whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! As well as the Purapura Whetū craft activity happening at every branch, there are many other fabulous events to look out for celebrating Matariki during the school holidays:

Kōhunga Kōrero o Matariki
Nau mai haere mai ki te whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i a Matariki! Pakiwaitara i roto i te reo Māori. E 30 meneti pakiwaitara, rotarota, waiata hoki i roto i te reo Māori nō ngā kōhungahunga me ō rātou mātua kaitiaki. Join us for these special Matariki storytimes in te reo Māori! Featuring stories, songs and rhymes in te reo Māori, these 30-minute storytimes are open to anyone, and are recommended for children aged 2-6 years and their caregivers.

  • Friday 10 July, 10.30am at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi
  • Monday 13 July, 10.30am at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Friday 17 July, 10.30am at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi

Making Matariki Stars
Join us for this special Matariki craft session! Make your very own Matariki star using one of our designs, or let your creative juices flow and create your own! Then, we will add your star to our purapura whetū — our pattern of stars — for everyone to enjoy and admire.

  • Monday 13 July, 11.00am at Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Takapū o Patukawenga

Matariki By Torchlight
Head down to the library at twilight for this special evening of Matariki and Aotearoa-themed stories and songs under the starlight (or clouds!). Bring your own torch and come along in your PJs ready for some heart-warming bedtime stories and songs.

  • Monday 13 July, 6.00pm at Brooklyn Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Moe-rā

Matariki Music Makers: Making Taonga Whakatangitangi
Come along and celebrate Matariki by crafting music makers inspired by the porotiti, and making Matariki stars. You can take your creations home, or display them at our libraries during our #purapurawhetu Matariki festival.

  • Friday 10 July, 2.00pm at Brooklyn Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Moe-rā

Matariki Online Storytimes
Whakarongo mai, tamariki mā, pākeke mā! Celebrate Matariki wherever you are with our Matariki online storytimes. He korero paki i te reo Māori ēnei; these stories are in te reo Māori. The stories will be streaming live on our Wellington City Libraries Facebook page, and will remain up for your enjoyment throughout the holidays!

  • Saturday 4 July, 7.30pm — online!
  • Sunday 5 July, 7.30pm — online!
  • Monday 6 July, 7.30pm — online!

Matariki Storytimes
Come along and celebrate Matariki at your local whare pukapuka, or library, with Matariki-themed stories and waiata with our librarians. Then, why not try your hand at making Matariki stars at our crafting stations? There will be a range of activities available for your whānau.

  • Tuesday 7 July, 10.30am at Khandallah Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Tarikākā
  • Wednesday 8 July, 10.30am at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Monday 13 July, 10.30am at Wadestown Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Ōtari
  • Wednesday 15 July, 10.30am at Cummings Park Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Korimako

String Bean Puppets: Once in a Full Moon
Come along and celebrate Matariki at your local library with Anna Bailey and her string bean puppets! Anna’s puppets will be helping her perform the magical tale “Once in a Full Moon.” One evening, a lonely kiwi looks up in the sky and sees something remarkable… can kiwis fly after all?

  • Monday 13 July, 2.00pm at Karori Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Māhanga
  • Tuesday 14 July, 11.00am at He Matapihi Molesworth Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o He Matapihi
  • Wednesday 15 July, 2.00pm at Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Te Awa-a-Taia
  • Friday 17 July, 2.00pm at Johnsonville Library/Te Whare Pukapuka o Waitohi

Nō reira, nau mai, haere mai ki ōu tātou whare pukapuka ki te whakanui i tēnēi wā tino hirahira! So come on down to your library to celebrate this special time!

 

 

Raranga / Weaving Workshops for Matariki

Matariki ahunga nui – Matariki, provider of plentiful food

Late in June, Matariki will reappear in the dawn sky signaling the Māori New Year.  In Poneke local iwi acknowledge the rising of Puanga.   It is a time to celebrate life, remember those who have passed away and to plan for the future.  It is a time to gather together and share and learn new skills.

This year Wellington City Libraries has arranged for a series of raranga or weaving workshops in some of our branch libraries and community centres over the month of Pipiri (June).   We have arranged for knowledgeable people to assist us with harvesting the harakeke (flax) using the correct tikanga (protocols) prior to each session  so we will have freshly harvested harakeke for each workshop.

RARANGA WORKSHOPS
The workshops will be with small groups and you will be instructed in weaving a small kono or food basket with harakeke.  Bookings are essential as numbers are limited so book with the branch or community centre hosting the workshop you would like to attend using the contact details provided below.

Newtown Library 
Friday 7th  June
10:00am-12:00pm
04 389 -2830 or  contact here 

Newlands Community Centre
Saturday 8th June
10:00am -12:00pm
04 477 3724 or contact here

Karori Library
Thursday 20th June
2:00pm – 4:00pm
04 476 8413 or contact here

Island Bay Community Centre
Wednesday 26th June
12:30pm-2:30pm
04 383 7464 or contact here

Life in colour: Recent festivals & ceremonies books

Matariki book cover

In every corner of the world you are bound to come across a celebration unique to that culture. From music festivals to Mardi Gras to Matariki, you can learn so much about the world in this book list below.


50 festivals to blow your mind / Ryan, Kalya
“There’s something about festivals, be it a giant, joyous party or a respectful honouring of tradition; a seemingly bizarre adherence to ritual or a celebration of a quirky obsession; it’s a uniquely human thing to be involved in. We like to get together to dance, sing, eat, laugh, drink, dress up, light fires, take our clothes off, throw tomatoes at each other, roll around in mud–just about anything really, but we seem to like doing it in really large groups with bags and bags of enthusiasm. They take our desire to have a good time with our friends to a global level.” (Catalogue)

Half a million strong : crowds and power from Woodstock to Coachella / Arnold, Gina
“From baby boomers to millennials, attending a big music festival has basically become a cultural rite of passage in America. In Half a Million Strong, music writer and scholar Gina Arnold explores the history of large music festivals in America and examines their impact on American culture. Studying literature, films, journalism, and other archival detritus of the counter cultural era, Arnold looks closely at a number of large and well-known festivals, including the Newport Folk Festival, Woodstock, Altamont, Wattstax, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and others to map their cultural significance in the American experience.” (Catalogue)

Matariki : te whetū tapu o te tau / Matamua, Rangi
“In midwinter, Matariki rises in the pre-dawn sky, and its observation is celebrated with incantations on hilltops at dawn, balls, exhibitions, dinners and a vast number of events. The Matariki tradition has been re-established, and its regeneration coincides with a growing interest in Māori astronomy. Still, there remain some unanswered questions about how Matariki was traditionally observed. What is Matariki? Why did Māori observe Matariki? How did Māori traditionally celebrate Matariki? When and how should Matariki be celebrated? This book seeks answers to these questions and explores what Matariki was in a traditional sense so it can be understood and clebrated in our modern society.” (Catalogue)

New Orleans / Karlin, Adam
“Features sections on Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and other NOLA festivals; Showcases the best of New Orleans, Jackson Square, Bourbon Street, Audubon Zoological Gardens, and Lafayette Cemetery No 1.” (Catalogue)

Harry & Meghan : the royal wedding book / Sadat, Halima
“Experience the heartwarming tale of how the dashing playboy prince fell in love with the beautiful American actress. Meghan Markle becomes the second American and the first mixed-race person to marry into the royal family, bringing with her a breath of fresh air as the House of Windsor navigates the twenty-first century. This deluxe souvenir celebrates their truly modern love story and their special day, from their wildly different childhoods and remarkable romance to the key events preceding the wedding, the titles bestowed by the Queen, the bride’s gorgeous gown, and the grand nuptials with their pomp, pageantry, and enchantment.” (Catalogue)

#MatarikiMash challenge #8 – the final! Wednesday 4th July

Nau mai, welcome to the very last #MatarikiMash challenge of 2018! This is your last chance to play. Your words for today are:

  • kaiwaiata (singer)
  • ākuanei (soon)
  • katakata (laugh)
  • matatahi (selfie)

Head over to Twitter to join in! (@wcl_library)

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up four te reo Māori kupu each morning, and all you need to do is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story or poem, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

Make it your Māori New Year’s resolution to learn more about Matariki and Puanga!

Wellington City Library starts Māori New Year 2018 with this updated selection of books about Matariki and Puanga. We have also included some useful links that will take you to informative websites and digital resources. As Matariki continues its resurgence, and becomes an increasingly important part of New Zealand’s calendar, make it your Māori New Year’s resolution to learn more about Matariki and Puanga!

Syndetics book coverMatariki : the star of the year / Rangi Matamua.
“In mid-winter, Matariki rises in the pre-dawn sky. Based on research and interviews with Maori experts, this book seeks answers to questions such as What is Matariki? Why did Maori observe Matariki? How did Maori traditionally celebrate Matariki? When and how should Matariki be celebrated?and explores what Matariki was in a traditional sense so it can be understood and celebrated in our modern society.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPuanga, star of the Māori New Year: Ko Puanga-nui-ā-rangi te whetū mātāmua o te tau hou Māori: nānā i ārahi i ā Matariki tana tuahine tō muri iho / by Sam T. Rerekura. B.Ed., Dip. Tchg, Dip. Film & TV, Cert. Tertiary Teaching.
“Most of the tribes of the Maori people in Aotearoa observed Puanga to mark the beginning of the Maori New Year. Through the study of the oral literature we are able to gaze into the past to understand how Maori perceived the star Puanga in ancient times.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Image from FishpondMatariki : the Māori New Year / Libby Hakaraia.
“A general introduction to Matariki looking at: mythology, Maori and western perspectives; around the world – ancient constellation recognised in Greece (Pleiades) and in the Pacific (Matali’i, Mataliki, etc); celebrations; navigation;  planting and harvesting; and Matariki today – ways to celebrate.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCelebrating the southern seasons : rituals for Aotearoa / Juliet Batten.
“In the tenth anniversary edition of this unique work, author Juliet Batten sheds more light on customs, symbols and meanings attached to seasonal changes. She reports on Matariki and other forms of celebration that New Zealanders have inherited, found, devised and adapted. She also suggests readings, myths and stories to enrich our holidays.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNight skies above New Zealand / Vicki Hyde.
“From the Matariki celebrations of the Maori new year to Captain Cook’s search for accurate longitude, people in Aotearoa/New Zealand have always looked to the skies. Night Skies Above New Zealand tells of our astronomical heritage from the early voyagers to the research being undertaken today. The book provides a thorough yet readable introduction to the skies of the southern hemisphere and current astronomical knowledge, from the formation of our solar system to the violent death of giant stars.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Image from FishpondTātai arorangi, Māori astronomy : Work of the gods / Kay Leather and Richard Hall. Kay Leather and Richard Hall explore astronomy through a Maōri lens.  Myth cycles are discussed and star charts are included along with a comprehensive glossary.

Syndetics book coverTe kāhui o Matariki : contemporary Māori art of Matariki / edited by Libby Hakaraia and Colleen Waata Urlich ; photography by Norman Heke.
“This beautifulbook contains contemporary artwork, photography, poetry and short writings including personal experiences of Matariki – the Maori New Year. It also contains an introduction and background to Matariki. The artists include painters, sculptors, photographers, weavers, and carvers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA concise encyclopedia of Maori myth and legend / Margaret Orbell.
“Based on The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Maori Myth and Legend this is a concise guide to Maori myths and legends, religious beliefs, folklore and history. More than 300 entries, arranged alphabetically, reveal the subtlety and complexity of the traditional Maori view of the world, and a large index provides cross-referencing.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTe taiao: Māori and the natural world.
“In this richly illustrated book, Maori scholars and writers share the traditional knowledge passed down the generations by word of mouth. It provides a unique window on the relationship of the people of this land with their environment, as well as the profound knowledge and necessary skills they needed to survive here.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe seven sisters of the Pleiades : stories from around the world / Munya Andrews.
“The legends of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades that poets, priests, prophets, shamans, storytellers, artists, singers, and historians have told throughout time are retold in this compilation of the stories that have found their inspiration in nine beautiful stars clustered together in the night sky. Serious astronomical research complements the variety of mythological explanations for the stars’ existence by providing the modern world’s scientific understanding of them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Te mahi māra hua parakore : a Māori food sovereignty handbook / nā Jessica Hutchings.
“Jessica Hutchings (hua parakore gardener, activist, academic and certified Te Waka Kai Ora grower) explains the political implications of the decisions that we make about growing and eating kai. She encourages us to take control over the food security of our whanau, providing practical advice on how to grow kai in accordance with the kaupapa of hua parakore, inspiring us with stories of hua parakore heroes and reassuring us that becoming a hua parakore gardener is a journey that anyone can embark on.”(Syndetics summary)

Further books to explore:

The illustrated encyclopedia of Maori myth and legend / Margaret Orbell.

The astronomical knowledge of the Māori genuine and empirical : including data concerning their systems of astrogeny, astrolatry, and natural astrology, with notes on certain other natural phenomena / by Elsdon Best.

Māori agriculture : the cultivated food plants of the natives of New Zealand : with some account of native methods of agriculture, its ritual and origin myths / by Elsdon Best.

Matariki : te whetũ o te tau=Aotearoa Pacific New Year.

Useful websites:

Te Ara: The Encylopaedia of New Zealand: Matariki

Ministry for Culture and Heritage: Matariki

Te Papa: Matariki

NASA: The Pleiades

#MatarikiMash challenge #7: Monday 2nd July

Nau mai, welcome to the last week of #MatarikiMash challenge! You have two more chances to play. Your words for today are:

  • moana (ocean, lake)
  • ināianei (now)
  • inu (drink)
  • wheke (octopus)

Head over to Twitter to join in! (@wcl_library)

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up four te reo Māori kupu each morning, and all you need to do is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story or poem, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

#MatarikiMash challenge #6: Wednesday 27th June

Nau mai, welcome to the #MatarikiMash challenge! Your words for today are:

  • tākuta (doctor)
  • māra (garden)
  • hinga (fall, fall over)
  • kiore (rat, mouse)

Head over to Twitter to join in! (@wcl_library)

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up four te reo Māori kupu each morning, and all you need to do is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story or poem, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

#MatarikiMash challenge #5: Monday 25th June

Nau mai, welcome to the third week of word play we call the #MatarikiMash challenge! Your words for today are:

  • kaiako (teacher)
  • motu (island)
  • hōtoke (winter)
  • peke (to jump)

Head over to Twitter to join in! (@wcl_library)

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up four te reo Māori kupu each morning, and all you need to do is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story or poem, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

#MatarikiMash challenge #4: Wednesday 20th June

Nau mai, welcome back to week two of this years #MatarikiMash challenge! Your words for today are:

  • whaea (mother)
  • maunga (mountain)
  • inanahi (yesterday)
  • hangi (traditional earth oven feast)

Head over to Twitter to join in! (@wcl_library)

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up four te reo Māori kupu each morning, and all you need to do is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story or poem, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

#MatarikiMash challenge #3: Monday 18th June

Nau mai, welcome to week two of our literary tweet #MatarikiMash challenge for 2018! Your words for today are:

  • hui (gathering, meeting)
  • āpōpō (tomorrow)
  • hīkoi (walk)
  • kiwi (native bird)

Head over to Twitter to join in! (@wcl_library)

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up four te reo Māori kupu each morning, and all you need to do is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story or poem, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

#MatarikiMash Challenge #2: Wednesday 13th June

Nau mai, welcome to the Wellington Libraries second #MatarikiMash challenge for 2018! Your words for today are:

  • pā (fort)
  • pō (night time)
  • mahi (to work or activity)
  • kai (food)

Head over to Twitter to join in! (@wcl_library)

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up four te reo Māori kupu each morning, and all you need to do is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story or poem, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

#MatarikiMash is back!! Here is challenge #1

Nau mai, welcome to the first #MatarikiMash challenge for 2018! Your words for today are:

  •  awa (river)
  • raumati (summer)
  • noho (to sit)
  • pounamu (greenstone)

Head over to Twitter to join in! (@wcl_library)

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks from today, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up four te reo Māori kupu each  morning, and all you need to do is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story or poem, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

Celebrating Matariki 2018 at Central Library

Matariki ahunga nui – Matariki, provider of plentiful food

As the month of June rolls upon us, marking the end of the traditional harvesting time, we pause for reflection as the constellation of Matariki will soon reappear in the sky to mark the start of the Māori New Year – a time for remembering the past, reflecting on the present, and gathering hopes for new beginnings. At Wellington Central Library we have organised the following free events and promotions to mark and celebrate Matariki.

  • Emerging Winter Food Traditions
    Our first event is about food preservation and fermentation which fits so well with Matariki as the time following harvest.
  • An introduction to whakapapa research resources
    The next event is a look at resources for researching whakapapa and some examples of how these resources can be used, this again fits with the ideas of whānau coming together at Matariki.
  • He Taonga te Reo – What’s in a name?
    A presentation on the intricacies of naming places in today’s democratic society :  he kōrero by Neavin Broughton
  • #MatarikiMash
    In the lead up to Matariki we will also be running our twitter word play promotion “Matariki Mash” from 11 June where we invite you to play along by creating a story that uses the four selected Māori words for the day (don’t forget the hashtag #matarikimash).

Here are some more details about these events.

Monday 18 June
Central Library – Ground Floor, 12.30 pm
Emerging winter food traditions

Matariki poster 1 - Emerging Winter Food Traditions

For this korero we have invited Kelda Hains and Lois Daish who will engage in a structured conversation on themes that include the popular and trending topics of preservation and fermentation.

Lois Daish is a well-known local writer of cook books and you can read about her influence on the Wellington hospitality scene here and her appointment to Life Membership of New Zealand Guild of Food Writers here and in a food blog here.

Many of us carry a memory of her food column published by the New Zealand Listener and I’m sure there are many of us who have collected these recipes into folders and books that are now sitting alongside the cookbook collection at home. Luckily many of these recipes have also been gathered together in her cook book A Good Year – available at Wellington City Libraries and spanning her 23 years with the Listener.

When Lois was presented her life membership award Lauraine Jacobs, described her as someone who “has always cooked and written with sincerity and simplicity and empowered people to cook well every day.”

Lois was also a hands-on restauranter, with cafes at venues in Wellington from 1980s onwards. It was Lois who first gave our other presenter Kelda Hains her first opportunity to work in a restaurant, in her Brooklyn Bar and Grill in the 1990s. Since then, Kelda, in partnership with two others has spent 20 years at the Nikau Café, where she has honed her culinary skills and developed a deep fundamental belief in supporting local growers and their fresh produce to form a basic and essential basis for all her cooking. Her book Nikau Café is also available at Wellington City Libraries.

Kelda and her business partners have expanded their business interest to a new café in Aro Street called Rita where the kaupapa of fresh produce is embodied in her set menu dining. Through her experiments with traditional bottling/preserving she has evolved a passion for preserving by fermentation: beginning with sauerkraut and expanding to kohlrabi, celeriac, Korean kimchi, chick peas and koji rice. While this topic is a little fearsome for some of us, during this presentation Kelda will demonstrate her fascination with this process and you can read more about her love of these processes here.

Tuesday 19 June
Central Library – Second Floor, 12.30 pm
An introduction to whakapapa research resources

Matariki poster 2 - Whakapapa

Library staff will demonstrate the world of online and published resources that are available for whakapapa research at your public library.
Nau mai, haere mai. Come, sample our Land Court Minute Book indexes and bound minute book volumes (Wellington, 20 volumes, or microfilms covering a wider geographic area), our in-house database of Māori births, deaths (1913-1961) and marriages (1911-1952), and hidden treasures through online access to NLNZ’s PapersPast, Te Ao Hou, AtoJsonline, Donald McLean letters, Maorilandonline, and many other sources.

Friday 22 June
Central Library – CYA area, 12.30 pm
What’s in a name?


Neavin Broughton will discuss processes and meanings behind the selection of Te Reo Māori names for Civic Square, a sea walkway, the city wards, and other prominent features of the city.
It is exciting to peel back the layers of history of places and objects that our eyes flick over ever so casually, without our stopping to ask: the ‘what’ or the‘why’ -of the stories behind those names.

Saturday 23 June
Central Library – 2-3 pm

Performance and Interactive Family Singing with The Manawa Ora Children Community Choir

The Manawa Ora Children Community Choir is a group of young singers that gathers weekly to learn music from around the world. In this ensemble, children are accepted, celebrated and empowered, as they learn to sing in parts and in different languages. They then share their love of music with the broader Wellington community by singing at rest homes and community events. Join the choir and director, Lala Simpson, on Saturday, June 23rd from 2 – 3 PM for an interactive performance and workshop at the Wellington Central Library! Children, parents, and grandparents are all welcome!

Starting Monday 11 June
Twitter wordplay with #MatarikiMash

Matariki Mash
We invite you to test your imagination and your skill with language and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for 4 weeks as part of the Matariki celebrations.

How does Matariki Mash work? We’ll post up four te reo Māori kupu each Monday and Wednesday morning on Twitter (you can follow us at @wcl_library) and all you need to do is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea.

New Zealand Book Council

#MatarikiMash – Matariki wordplay for Mondays!

Matariki Mash

On Mondays for four weeks from 26 June, we wish to test your imagination and your skill with language! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge on Twitter for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up two te reo Māori kupu those mornings, as well as one English word. All you need to do is bring your word play skills and include all three words in a tweet-length short story, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag! See

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

News Ad Lib Radio: Our Māori programmes and events

“News Ad Lib”, hosted by our own library staff, airs monthly on Access Radio 783 AM. The most recent show played on Saturday 2nd July, and is available for streaming below.

This month Frith and Françoise tell us all about the current events around Matariki and Te Wiki o te Reo and our Māori collections and programmes.

Find links to the music and resources mentioned in this episode here:

Royals by the Modern Māori Quartet

“Aotearoa” by Stan Walker released to celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo 2014!

This year, Māori Language Week turned 40. To celebrate, Wellington City Libraries was part of New Zealand’s first parade to honour Māori language week that ran from Parliament to Te Papa on 4th July 2016.

Here are more links to items mentioned during the programme:

Frith’s Rēwena Bread Recipe is available here
Rewena bread

Cover of White Lies tmmhp-cover_770x1090_50pc_v1-212x300

Witi Ihimaera’s novel White Lies available from our elibrary

Dr Jessica Hutchings’ Te mahi māra : hua parakore – a guide to Māori organic growing

Poi E by the Pātea Māori Club, the only te reo song that has been top of the charts in New Zealand 3 times in three different decades!

Poi E: The Story of Our Song, a  documentary about the making of Poi E, and the town of Pātea telling the story of the song and the group who sings it will be released at the opening of this year’s New Zealand Film Festival in Wellington on 22 July.

For now, from us, Hei kōnā!

#MatarikiMash challenge #7 – the final!

It’s time for the final #MatarikiMash challenge! Your words for today are:

  • hāora (hour)
  • ehara (is not)
  • favour
  • fool

Head over to Twitter to join in!

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up two te reo Māori kupu those mornings, as well as two English words, and all you need to do, is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

#MatarikiMash # 6!

It’s time for another #MatarikiMash challenge! Your words for today are:

  • noho (sit/stay)
  • whānau (family)
  • watch
  • stand

Head over to Twitter to join in!

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up two te reo Māori kupu those mornings, as well as two English words, and all you need to do, is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

#MatarikiMash challenge #5

It’s time for another #MatarikiMash challenge! Your words for today are:

  • pīrangi (want, need, like)
  • mehemea (if)
  • party
  • fire

Head over to Twitter to join in!

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up two te reo Māori kupu those mornings, as well as two English words, and all you need to do, is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council

Whanake Taiao: Rongoā Māori

Puanga kai rau. ka hua ai ngā pua, koia ko puanga. =
an abundance of food at puanga, when the blossoms become fruit, that is puanga.

orions-matariki
Matariki ahunga nui

Nau mai, haere mai ki tō tātou whare : welcome to a free talk at Wellington Central Library

Matariki-22-june-s
Fred Allen : Matariki Celebration of Rongoā Māori and Native Plant Remedies

Date: Wednesday 22 June
Time: 12.30 pm
Place: Central Library Second Floor, near newspapers – (the library book sale is taking place Ground fFoor).

FredallenFred Allen will present his thoughts on Rongoā Māori and native plant remedies within traditional and contemporary paradigms, and subsequent contemporary medicinal developments.
Fred Allen is a Rongoā Māori practitioner, New Zealand native herbal medicinal product manufacturer and specialist New Zealand native plant horticulturist. Fred has participated in the NZ Health and Wellness Industry for over 30 years and has invested in development of personal specialist expertise in native flora, NZ biodiversity, ethno-botany, phytochemistry and therapeutics of NZ endemic and indigenous herbal medicine.  He identifies and separates his work within both Māori and Western paradigms. He was invited by the South Korean Government to represent New Zealand at the World Traditional Medicine Expo during 2011.

Fred is of Te Atiawa descent, his rohe is Te Whanganui-a-Tara, and he is Managing Director of www.kiwiplants.co.nz and www.kiwiherbs.com

#MatarikiMash challenge #4

Welcome to another #MatarikiMash challenge! Your words for today are:

  • kura (school, red)
  • whai (follow, string game)
  • practice
  • season

Head over to Twitter to join in!

Wondering what’s going on? On Mondays and Wednesdays for four weeks, test your imagination and your skill with language, and help us celebrate Matariki! Inspired by the New Zealand Book Council’s #ramereshorts weekly Twitter competitions, we’ll be running a special word challenge for the 4 weeks of Matariki, every Monday and Wednesday.

We’ll post up two te reo Māori kupu those mornings, as well as two English words, and all you need to do, is bring your word play skills and include them in a tweet short story, together with the #MatarikiMash hashtag.

We’ll be retweeting entries through the day as they come in.

Matariki Mash

Many thanks go to the New Zealand Book Council, for letting us borrow their idea:

New Zealand Book Council