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New Year Maori Style! Maori Family Performs A Homemade Haka

Did You Know? When the Matariki star cluster rises into the skies of New Zealand, it signals a month-long celebration across the country of the Māori New Year.

Matariki is the Māori name for the small cluster of stars in the Taurus constellation that rise during the New Zealand winter. Matariki has always been an important time in the Māori calendar. For early Māori, Matariki was strongly connected to the seasons and was an indicator of the forthcoming year.

Matariki means ‘eyes of the god’ or ‘little eyes’. Some say that when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were separated by their children, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became angry, tearing out his eyes and hurling them into the heavens. Others say Matariki is the mother surrounded by her six daughters.

The Māori New Year signals a time for connecting with, and giving thanks to, the land, sea and sky. It’s also a time for the community to farewell those departed and acknowledge the year gone by, and to turn to the future and celebrate new beginnings.

For many Māori, the first new moon after the rise of the Matariki signals the start of the New Year celebrations. The Matariki Festival in Auckland will see the city come alive with live music performances, Kapa Haka, theatre, poetry, family events, dance and art..


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