Matariki. Te Tau Hou Māori
– The Māori New Year
24 June 2022 saw Aotearoa New Zealand mark Matariki with an official annual holiday for the first time.
Signalling New Year, Matariki is a time of renewal and celebration in Aotearoa New Zealand that begins with the rising of the Matariki (the Pleiades) star cluster and the rising of a new moon.
Most Māori identify nine stars making up Matariki:
- Matariki: the star that signifies well-being, reflection, hope and the gathering of people. The name Matariki denotes both this individual star and the whole cluster.
- Waitī: the star linked with fresh water and food that comes from it.
- Waitā: the star linked with the ocean and food that comes from it.
- Tupuānuku: the star linked with food that grows in the ground.
- Tupuārangi: the star linked with food that comes from the skies: fruits, berries, and birds.
- Waipunarangi: the star linked with the rain.
- Ururangi: the star that determines the winds for the year.
- Pōhutukawa: the star associated with those who have died.
- Hiwa-i-te-rangi: the star associated with dreams and aspirations for the coming year.
Traditionally, Matariki followed the harvesting of crops when the pātaka (food storehouses) were full, freeing up time for family, reflection, and celebrations of various kinds. Today Matariki can be used as a time to reflect on the past year, celebrate the present, and plan for the year ahead.
Visionwest Waka Whakakitenga and Matariki
Pōhutukawa is the eldest child of Matariki. When Matariki rises in the new year, we honour the memories of all those who have passed and take time to especially remember those who are dearest to us.
At Visionwest, we want to give thanks to, and pay tribute to, those whānau who are no longer with us but have contributed to Visionwest in some way, whether as a staff member, supporter, or client whānau. The work of Visionwest is a part of the legacy of each one of these people.
We would also encourage those who read this to take a moment to bring to mind loved ones who you have lost over this past year and honour them in this way.
Hiwa-i-te-rangi is the youngest child of Matariki. When Matariki rises in the new year, we think about the future; our hopes for future growth and our plans to achieve those hopes.
For Visionwest, it reminds us of the importance to return regularly to our Five-Year Strategic Plan (page 42). This Plan lists our goals and objectives and guides our future actions and activities.
It also challenges us to reconnect to our core purpose and recall why we developed that Strategic Plan in the first place; it’s to enable the vulnerable in our communities to receive the support that injects hope into their lives and sustains them on their journey to a transformed life.
We would encourage those who read this to take a moment to think about your own lives and the hopes and dreams you have for yourself and your whānau. Think about what needs to happen in order for those dreams to become reality and what plans you could put in place to bring them about.