Matariki; Pleiades star cluster;The Seven Sisters;
What is Matariki?
Matariki is the Maori name for the group of stars also known as the Pleiades star cluster or The Seven Sisters; and what is referred to as the traditional Maori New Year.
When is the Maori New Year?
The Maori new year is marked by the rise of Matariki and the sighting of the next new moon. The pre-dawn rise of Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May every year and the new year is marked at the sighting of the next new moon which occurs during June. This next occurs on 5 June 2008.
What does Matariki mean?
Matariki has two meanings, both referring to a tiny constellation of stars; Mata Riki (Tiny Eyes) and Mata Ariki (Eyes of God).
Why is Matariki important?
Traditionally, depending on the visibility of Matariki, the coming season’s crop was thought to be determined. The brighter the stars indicated the warmer the season would be and thus a more productive crop. It was also seen as an important time for family to gather and reflect on the past and the future.