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Source: Whangarei District Council

When Te Iwa o Matariki rises should be predicted using the maramataka Māori, or the Māori lunar calendar which aligns to the phases of the moon, rather than the more common Gregorian calendar. The maramataka Māori comprises of twelve 29.5 day months and a 354- day year. 

When to observe the rising of Matariki

The optimum time to observe the rising of Matariki is in the phase of the moon known as Tangaroa, the moon of plenty. The Tangaroa moon phase occurs in the three or four days leading to a new moon, the beginning of a ‘Māori month’ so to speak, and will fall on different dates each year. In summary, Matariki does not rise on the same date every year!

The 9 stars of Matariki


Matariki is the star that signifies reflection, hope, our connection to the environment and the gathering of people. Matariki is also connected to the health and wellbeing of people.


There yonder is Pōhutukawa suspended above, a constant reminder for my treasured ones that have gone. May you shine as stars in the night, and sparkle within the repository of memories forever more. Pōhutukawa is the star associated with those that have passed on.


Waitī above, Waitī below, flowing are your waters as sustenance for the land, as vitality for mankind, as a food basket for the people. The current of the river swirls and eddies, the lakes ripple, and the source of Tāne-te-waiora overflows, ‘tis life! Waitī is associated with all fresh water bodies and the food sources that are sustained by those waters.


Behold the great expanse of Kiwa that gleams green and blue beneath you Waitā. Draw up the many of Ikatere, dive out to sea, and collect from the seaside as food for the multitude ashore. The charm of Tangaroa has begun! ‘Tis the great current, the long current, the boisterous ocean, the calm ocean. Waitā is associated with the ocean, and food sources within it.


Welcome the misty rain! Welcome the drizzle! Welcome the showers! Welcome the heavy drenching rain! Fall from the spring of the sacred sky, give drink oh Waipuna-ā-rangi, the land grows and the people flourish. Waipuna-ā-rangi is associated with the rain.


Tupuānuku shoot up, and grow down, to be plentiful. May the mound dedicated to Rongo be forever fertile, that which was formed from afar. The bounty of Nukutū is scooped up in great numbers, till the soil, cultivate, harvest the year of copious abundance. Tupuānuku is the star associated with everything that grows within the soil to be harvested or gathered for food.


Thriving is the forest, lush is the forest, bountiful is the crown of the forest upon which the children of Tāne settle, there indeed is the great fowling tree. Tupuārangi you shall make the forest plentiful; the birds are rich with fat, the berries are fertile, sustenance! Tupuārangi is associated with everything that grows up in the trees: fruits, berries, and birds.


Ururangi pacify the unseeing god, lest the wind blows violently, blasting and fierce hitherto. But instead let it be a breeze, a gentle caressing wind so I may be revitalised and refreshed. Ururangi is the star associated with the winds. 


Great Hiwa, long-established Hiwa, skilled Hiwa, wise Hiwa! Hiwaiterangi this is the wish of the desiring heart, this is the determination of the longing heart. Spread out in plenty the multitude of immense opportunities. Hold fast to succeed, hold firm to good fortune! Go forth into the world and prosper! Hiwa-i-te-rangi is the star associated with granting our wishes, and realising our aspirations for the coming.

Matariki information sourced from by Dr Rangi Matarua.