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  • Writer's pictureVaiola Tauti

Manawatia a Matariki!

Matariki, shortened from “Ngā mata o te ariki o Tāwhirimātea” - the eyes of the god Tāwhirimātea, is also known as the Māori New Year. It is a significant cultural celebration in te ao Māori and among the Pacific Islands.

The Māori New Year marks the reappearance of the star cluster Pleiades in the early morning sky and the winter solstice. Matariki traditionally signifies the start of a new year according to the Maramataka (Māori lunar) calendar, celebrating those who have passed.

Matariki is a time to honor those who have passed, celebrate new life, and prepare for the future. Traditionally, it is also a period for communal feasting, storytelling, and planning for the coming year.

Matariki is celebrated and shared across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, where the reappearance of the Pleiades is also significant, marking a period of harvest, peace, and festivities. 

Our team at ECG has a blend of Polnesian heritage from Islands across the Pacific. For us as Samoans, Matariki is known as Mata’ali’i - the eyes of the chiefs. There, it is believed that the seven stars are the eyes of the seven chiefs who went to heaven after their deaths, with only one eye being visible in the skies.

In Hawaii, the cluster is known as Makali'i and marks the Hawaiian new year, Makahiki, which signifies a period of reflection, recognition, and pride.

Our team also has links to Tuvalu, Tokelau, Niue, and Tonga where Matariki is known as Mataliki. These celebrations underscore a shared cultural genealogy in Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, linking communities through common astronomical knowledge and seasonal changes.

This year for Matariki, ECG immersed themselves in learning different activities such as educating ourselves on how we can actively participate in Matariki as tauiwi in Aotearoa, kite flying and reflecting on the past year of achievements and planning for the future over a hearty kai. 

Matariki is a time to remember the past, celebrate the present, and set intentions for the future. It not only enriches the cultural tapestry of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa but also reminds everyone of the deep connections between people, land, and the stars.

Manawatia a Matariki!

ECG team at Kai Means Food for Matariki Celebrations

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