How to celebrate Matariki this year

What is Matariki, and how can you celebrate?

How to celebrate Matariki this year

Matariki signifies the beginning of the Māori New Year. Read more about what Matariki is and how you can celebrate!

What is Matariki?

Matariki marks the beginning of the Māori New Year and is signified by the Matariki cluster of stars appearing in the night sky. Matariki focuses on three main ideas – remembering the past and paying respects to those who have passed; celebrating the present day and being grateful for what we have; and looking to the future and planning for the year ahead.

The Matariki cluster of stars can be seen throughout the world at different times of the year and is known by several other names. In English, it is known as Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters, which is its ancient Greek name. In Hawaiian it is Makali’I, meaning ‘eyes of royalty’, and in Japan it is Subaru, meaning ‘gathered together’.

The Matariki star cluster is known to be one of the brightest clusters in the sky and contains hundreds of stars. Years ago, if the stars appeared clear and bright, it was thought to signify a great planting, harvesting, and hunting season ahead.

When is Matariki?

The date that Matariki takes place varies according to tribes and geography, however is usually between late May to early July. This year is the first year that Matariki is acknowledged as a public holiday in New Zealand on Friday 24th June 2022.

For future years, the Matariki public holiday may shift to align with the Maramataka however it will always be recognised on a Friday.

Where can you view the Matariki stars?

The best time to view the Matariki stars is early in the morning between 5:30am-6:30am. Matariki can be seen low on the horizon in the northeast of the sky. Check out this article for some tips on how to locate the star cluster!

Some of the best places to stargaze in New Zealand include Castlepoint, Lake Tekapo, Aramoana Heyward Point Track in Otago, and the Great Barrier Island tracks, although you can try locating Matariki from many other locations around the country too.

How to celebrate Matariki around New Zealand

There are plenty of ways to celebrate Matariki. Firstly, it’s a great chance to remind yourself of the three principles that the Māori New Year is centered around. Remember the past and those who are no longer with us, be grateful for the present, and look towards and plan for the future.

Encourage your friends and family to practice their te reo Māori. Try out this phrase in Māori – ‘Ngā mihi o Matariki, te tau hou Māori’, meaning Happy Matariki!

Another way to celebrate Matariki is by cooking kai (food). Use traditional Māori vegetables like kumara, taro, and puha, or enjoy some seafood or a hāngī! A hāngī is a feast cooked in an earth oven, and often includes food like chicken, lamb, and kumara. The food is placed on top of the stones and topped with dirt to trap in the heat and cook it.

Get involved in the community with various Matariki events around New Zealand. If you’re spending your long weekend at Tasman Holiday Parks – Christchurch, check out Tirama Mai, a lighting festival that celebrates Matariki. Christchurch’s Cathedral Square and the surrounding areas will be lit up with installations and projections between 24th June – 3rd July. Wrap up warm and enjoy the lights at night!

In Tauranga, only 20 minutes from Tasman Holiday Parks – Papamoa Beach, stand seven majestic poupou (carved figures). The figures represent the Matariki cluster of stars, and were created by local master carver, James Tapiata. Read more about them here and be sure to add them to your Bay of Plenty to-do list! Tauranga are also hosting a range of other events in the area over Matariki that are a great way to celebrate the holiday.

Heading away on a winter holiday down to Tasman Holiday Parks – Te Anau over the long weekend? Enjoy the Matariki Kai and Nighttime Nature Walk, or check out the other Matariki events around Fiordland.

Wherever you are this Matariki holiday, there is sure to be a local event or celebration that you can get involved with.

How to celebrate with Tasman Holiday Parks

If you’re staying at a Tasman Holiday Parks location over the Matariki long weekend, talk to our staff about entering our colouring competition. This is the perfect way to keep the kids busy and help educate them about Matariki.

Tasman Holiday Parks encourages you to take this time to reflect and spend time with your whanau and loved ones. Matariki is the perfect chance to enjoy some well-needed rest and be grateful for what you have, as well as thinking about the future and remembering the past. Gather with your loved ones, share stories and dreams, or write down your goals for the new year ahead.

Plan a holiday with your loved ones

If you don’t have any plans for Matariki and the long weekend yet, why not plan a weekend away with your family or loved ones? Check out our holiday parks around the country in inspired locations and plan your next getaway.