Issue: Volume 102, Number 8

Posted: 22 June 2023
Reference #: 1HAaUh

Mātauranga Māori is at the heart of celebrations of the Matariki public holiday. The rise of both Puanga/Puaka and Matariki signal the Māori New Year – a time for celebrating, harvesting, feasting, honouring those who have passed, and looking to the future.


Mānawa maiea te putanga o Matariki  

Celebrate the rising of Matariki 

Mānawa maiea te ariki o te rangi 

Celebrate the rising of the lord of the sky 

Mānawa maiea te Mātahi o te tau 

Celebrate the rising of the new year 

Celebrating Matariki supports early learning services, schools and kura to reflect our unique place in the world, and in the solar system, and help ākonga develop a stronger sense of our shared national identity and histories – in unity with whānau, communities, hapū and iwi.

The rise of both Puanga/Puaka and Matariki signal the Māori New Year – a time for celebrating, harvesting, feasting, honouring those who have passed, and looking to the future.

In some areas, it is the rising of the star Puanga/Puaka that is the marker or symbol of the new year. Puanga/Puaka can be seen in the eastern sky and is celebrated by iwi in Whanganui, Taranaki, parts of the Far North, and parts of the South Island.

We would love to hear about what you’re doing with your ākonga to celebrate Matariki and Te Ao Māori. Please get in touch with


Kaiako can make use of a wide range of education resources to bring the mātauranga of Matariki to life for ākonga and whānau. 

Mānawatia o Matariki, published by Te Arawhiti, is a booklet featuring a series of karakia written by Tā Pou Temara and Professor Rangi Mātāmua. 

Written in both te reo Māori and English, these karakia honour the rising of the nine stars of Matariki and are written to equip us with knowledge that will help us to celebrate our cultural identity as a nation.

Matariki is a time of reflection, gratitude, and renewal.  As we embrace Matariki and its traditions, this booklet will help to ensure the beauty and cultural importance of Matariki remains grounded in mātauranga Māori.  

See this resource and more at link)

Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with Dr Rangi Mātāmua and the Matariki Advisory Group, have also developed new resources that align with The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

Aligning with iwi or hapū mātauranga, the resources and materials focus on the themes of honouring the past, present and future, with emphasis on observing how ākonga fit into the natural world and their environmental responsibilities.

The full suite of resources includes waiata, pao, videos, e-books, ākonga worksheets, activity cards, kaiako guidance and aromatawai that are relevant from early learning to secondary schooling, in both Māori-medium and English-medium education.

These resources can be relevant at the time of Matariki, and indeed across all months of the year. The Matariki learnings are intended to bring mātauranga Matariki to life in an exciting way through their use of vibrant imagery and narratives. Whānau can also build their understanding of Matariki as these new resources can be used both in the classroom and by learners in the home.

Find these resources at link) 


The themes of Matariki 

Matariki hunga nui 

Matariki hunga nui is in reference to the many people of Matariki. It speaks to how Matariki calls people to gather together, to return home, to remember loved ones and celebrate with whānau and friends. It is hoped that people will take Matariki as an opportunity to return to the place they call home, and to reaffirm bonds they have with their whānau, friends and communities. 

Matariki ahunga nui 

This phrase speaks of the abundance of Matariki. Food and feasting are a central element of the Matariki period, and of people coming together to eat and share. Matariki can also be seen as an opportunity to promote, celebrate and eat local, seasonal produce. It is a time where we can prepare our favourite dishes, come together to share a meal, and support local restaurants and food producers. 

Matariki manako nui   

Manako are wishes and desires, and traditionally Māori would send their hopes and dreams into the stars during Matariki. These wishes can be similar to New Year’s resolutions and are focused on the promise of a bountiful year to come, but the wishes and resolutions were not centred on individual wants, but on the community, wellbeing and the environment.  

With respect to wishing on behalf of the environment, the different stars of Matariki are associated with different environmental domains and there are many approaches to how people may pay tribute to them, by planting trees, cleaning the beach front, or refusing plastics.

Education Gazette explores Matariki

E Mātai Nei I Ngā Whetū – I gaze up at the stars(external link) 

To help us more intricately understand the mātauranga that underpins Matariki, and the hopes of leaders within this realm for the education space, we were lucky enough to kōrero with Professor Rangi Mātāmua. 

Puanga and Matariki – what is the difference?(external link) 

In Aotearoa New Zealand, Matariki signals the beginning of the Māori New Year. However, iwi Māori in some locations favour the rise of Puanga because Matariki sits low in the eastern horizon and is therefore not always visible from their location. Ngāti Apa kaumatua Dr Mike Paki explains. 

Replenishing Tāne and connecting with te taiao(external link)  

Two schools share how they connected with Matariki by planting native forests so current and future ākonga can learn from and enjoy the benefits. 

An early learning journey through Matariki whetū(external link) 

At Our Kids Early Learning Centre in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, connection to Matariki and te ao Māori is celebrated not just for a few weeks before Matariki, but all year round.

More articles

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:38 am, 22 June 2023

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