George Breakfast talk to our te ao Māori expert on how to celebrate Matariki

Te Ao Maori 21/06/2022

Ngā mihi o te tau hou!

Many kiwis are celebrating their first ever Matariki as this Friday marks Aotearoa’s first public holiday to welcome in the Māori new year. To get a better understanding of what Matariki means and how to celebrate it, George Breakfast spoke with our te ao Māori insider Tīpare Ngā.

“In terms of what Matariki is, there's quite a bit out there at the moment about the astronomy side that's the star cluster that you can find, but for us as Māori the living, breathing part is really kind of three things that we celebrate. Which is…maumahara remembrance, whakanui to celebrate and mahere to plan. So those are the things that we focus on at this time of year.”

Matariki

When asked by George Breakfast host Tammy Davis on how to celebrate and implement Matariki’s teachings into our daily lives, Tīpare commented that Matariki is being condensed into a day/week when in reality Matariki is celebrated over the course of a month.

“...you sit in remembrance of those who have passed, but also what your dreams are for next year, your desires, your future planning…So for me I'm going to gather with family and friends on the day and have a kai, do something I never do, which is cook.”

I mean every iwi celebrates it differently, each marae there's lots of traditional ways it's kind of like a Christmas time feel but without the presents, if that makes sense. You can decide what you want to do with your whānau. It's about being together, celebrating whakawhanaungatanga. So you could do a hāngī I suppose, it really would be up to you to design that.

Tīpare told Lee and Tammy that there are many Māori phrases specific to Matariki that are relatable to everyone. These phrases can be used by anyone to celebrate Matariki.

Matariki tāpuapua - 'The pools of Matariki'

“So this time of year, everyone's noticing all the rain. That is the sign of Matariki. So it's really, we have these things that are specific to this area of the world… So when it starts raining, you guys can say Matariki tāpuapua it's a sign of the new year.”

Ngā mihi o te tau hou - 'Greetings of the New Year'

Tipare says that we can use this phrase for both Matariki and in January during the new year. It is also a great beginning or sign off on emails.

Mānawatia a Matariki - 'Happy Matariki'

“...another one that they use, that I see is being established is Mānawatia a Matariki which is kind of like Happy New Year, you know… that's been designed by the experts so I think we're going to be using that one a bit on George.”

George Breakfast hosts Lee and Tammy agree that it’s very special for us all to witness the birth of a new public holiday as we probably won’t be seeing another one for the rest of our lifetimes. 

Mānawatia a Matariki!