Matariki is the Maori name for the group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster;  and what is referred to as the traditional Maori New Year.

The Maori new year is marked by the rise of Matariki and the sighting of the next new moon. The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May every year and the new year is marked at the sighting of the next new moon which occurs during June.

Traditionally, depending on the visibility of Matariki, the coming season’s crop was thought to be determined. The brighter the stars indicated the warmer the season would be and thus a more productive crop. It was also seen as an important time for family to gather and reflect on the past and the future.

Today Matariki means celebrating the unique place in which we live and giving respect to the land we live on.  If you’re in Wanaka on Saturday, 28 June, be sure to head down to the Dinosaur Park to celebrate with us locals!  A wonderful, free community event is hosted by Kahu Youth and from 2.30 – 6 pm the waterfront will be a hive of activity with workshops, live performances, bonfires, a huge delicious Hangi and an amazing fireworks display to finish!

Many thanks to  Tai Tokerau Tourism for the background information above.