Māori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand. Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars that rises in our night sky in mid-winter. In June/July, Matariki will re-appear in the dawn sky, this cluster of stars is also known as the Pleiades in Greek mythology, Matali’i in Samoa, Makaliʻi in Hawaii, Matari’i in French Polynesia and Subaru in Japan.
Under the maramataka, the Māori lunar calendar, the reappearance of Matariki in the mid-winter night sky heralds the start of a New Year. It is a time to celebrate new life, to remember those who’ve passed and to plan for the future.
Each year Matariki is celebrated with a public holiday that recognised Te Ao Māori (the Māori world). In 2023, the public holiday will be on Friday 14 July. Mātauranga Māori is at the heart of celebrations of the Matariki public holiday.